Man accused of shooting at cops gets prison for gun crimes

AP News
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Posted: Oct 15, 2015 7:38 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — A former U.S. soldier who prosecutors say had a hit list naming a federal judge and two defense lawyers he wanted to kill was sentenced Thursday to more than 12 years in prison for weapons crimes discovered after his arrest on charges he attempted to murder two police officers.

Antonio Olmeda, 57, was sentenced in Manhattan to 12 years and seven months in prison by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman, who noted that Olmeda had been commended for his sharpshooting skills before his honorable discharge from the Army in 1980.

The judge said a stiff sentence was necessary to deter Olmeda and others like him.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Shane Stansbury told Berman that "chills went down (his) spine" after investigators found the hit list, disguises and an arsenal of weapons after Olmeda's December 2011 arrest.

In court papers, prosecutors wrote that Olmeda carried a loaded gun when he headed to a Queens lawyer's office to kill his former attorney.

Wearing a trench coat, fedora, eyeglasses and fake beard, Olmeda refused an order by two uniformed police officers to remove his hands from his pants before shoving one officer and pulling a revolver from his pocket, prosecutors said.

As the officers ran, Olmeda fired two shots, one of which landed in the waiting room of a nearby dentist's office, Stansbury said in court. No one was injured. The officers attended Thursday's court proceeding.

Olmeda awaits an attempted murder trial in state court. In court papers, prosecutors said Olmeda was "found in possession of a 'hit list'" when he was arrested 17 days after the shooting and "he intended to hunt each of them down ... and kill them."

They said the list included two of his defense lawyers and a Manhattan federal judge who had refused to free him from prison.

After Olmeda's arrest, authorities found a will in his car and later learned he had bought a cemetery lot and commissioned the engraving of a tombstone in his name, Stansbury said.

The prosecutor told Berman that Olmeda "was ready to make a statement in a big way" after preparing for death and assembling an arsenal including a fully automatic rifle and pistol, two sniper rifles with scopes, two machine guns and lots of ammunition.

Before he was sentenced, Olmeda complained that prosecutors tried to use his upcoming attempted murder trial against him in the federal gun case.

It was not Olmeda's first weapons conviction. In 1995, he was convicted in the Bronx of criminal possession of a dangerous weapon after he was found with an Uzi machine gun, a sawed-off shotgun, a silencer and several boxes of ammunition. In his van, authorities found a flamethrower, 18 pipe bombs, seven cans of black powder and 1,100 rounds of ammunition.

In June 2002, he was arrested after inquiring about security at a military installation in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He pleaded guilty to a felony a year later after authorities found ammunition in his luggage.