YONKERS, NY – Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and John J. Mueller, Commissioner of the Yonkers Police Department, announced charges today against Darren Smith for attempting to murder a federal law enforcement officer. The defendant will be presented in White Plains federal court today before Chief United States Magistrate Judge Paul E. Davison.
Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “As alleged, the defendant fired a handgun into a commercial hub in Yonkers and, in a further wanton disregard for human life, attempted to direct his fire at a federal law enforcement officer. Our Office will work to ensure that those who put our law enforcement partners in danger are held to account.”
FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “As law enforcement professionals, we all take an oath to protect the public from harm. When this subject allegedly fired his gun wildly into a public square to prevent his arrest, police officers, including a task force officer from our Westchester Safe Streets Task Force, took immediate action to prevent innocent people from being killed or injured by stray bullets. We take our oath seriously, and we won’t back away from our pursuit of holding criminals accountable for their actions.”
Yonkers Police Commissioner John J. Mueller said: “As this was one of the most depraved and reckless acts I have witnessed in my 28 years in law enforcement, the response by our Yonkers Police Officers was also one of the most heroic and selfless acts I have witnessed in my career. We often hear how our police officers run toward danger, without consideration for their own well-being. In this incident, everyone who views the video can attest to the validity of this often used term. As Yonkers Police Commissioner, I could not be prouder of the officers and supervisors that God has blessed me to work with. Thank you also to the outpouring of support from our beloved community who have inundated the Yonkers Police with well wishes and gratitude.”
On September 25, 2020, after law enforcement officers attempted to stop Smith’s car, he fled on foot with a handgun. As officers, including a FBI Task Force Officer, attempted to arrest him, Smith fired his handgun into Getty Square in Yonkers. As the FBI Task Force Officer attempted to control Smith’s hand to prevent him firing again, Smith struggled to turn the gun in the Task Force Officer’s direction and continued to fire. In the course of the struggle, the Task Force Officer fractured his finger, sprained his knee, and suffered several abrasions to his right hand.
Smith, 24, of New Rochelle, New York, is charged with one count of attempting to murder a federal officer, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, one count of using a deadly weapon to interfere with the performance of a federal officer’s official duties, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of discharging a firearm in the course of a crime of violence, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison to run consecutive to any other sentence imposed.
The maximum potential sentences, in this case, are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI’s Westchester County Safe Streets Task Force, which comprises agents and officers from the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, U.S. Probation, the New York State Police, the New York City Police Department, the Westchester County Police Department, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, the Yonkers Police Department, the Mount Vernon Police Department, the Peekskill Police Department, the Greenburgh Police Department, and the New Rochelle Police Department.
This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant United States Attorney Shiva H. Logarajah is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.