Men facing charges for shooting at policePosted: Updated:
PHOENIX - The following is a statement from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office:
One defendant has been convicted and another has been charged in court for allegedly firing weapons at Valley police officers in two separate incidents, County Attorney Andrew Thomas announced today.
A Maricopa County jury has found Frank Nicholas Bernal, Jr., 22 (DOB 4/10/86), guilty on charges
related to firing five shots from a handgun at two Phoenix Police officers last Halloween. Bernal was
found guilty of two counts of aggravated assault, class two dangerous felonies, after a six-day trial. The
jury returned their verdicts on September 2, 2008.
In a separate case, the County Attorney's Office has filed a criminal complaint against William Griffin
Rae, 45 (DOB 5/25/63), for allegedly firing at Phoenix Police officers last month. The officers were
responding to complaints of loud music when Rae allegedly opened fire. Rae has been charged with three
counts of aggravated assault, class two felonies, and two counts of endangerment, class six felonies, in the
August 26, 2008 complaint.
"Attacks on police officers are attacks on the community," said Thomas. "Our prosecutors will stand
shoulder to shoulder with police officers when they are threatened with violent harm."
According to a Phoenix Police probable cause statement and court testimony, on October 31, 2007, two
officers of the Phoenix Police Department were responding to a call when they heard a single gunshot in
the area of 33rd Avenue and Jefferson. They stopped the police vehicle and saw the defendant with a gun
in his hand. They ordered him to drop the gun. He refused and fled on foot. During the chase which
ensued, the defendant stopped in an alley and manipulated the gun as if to clear a malfunction or to load
the weapon. He then turned, extended his right arm and fired five shots at the two officers who were
exposed in the alley. When taken into custody, the defendant said, "I should have killed you."
Bernal will be sentenced on October 24, 2008, in the courtroom of Judge Cari A. Harrison. He is facing a
maximum term of 31.5 years flat prison time. Deputy County Attorneys Gina Godbehere and Rebekah
Prichard are prosecuting the case.
According to a Phoenix Police probable cause statement, on August 10, 2008, a resident in the Presidio
North Apartments tried to get the defendant to turn down his music. The defendant responded by
shouting profanities and displaying a gun to the resident. Police were called and as they approached the
defendant's apartment, Rae appeared from his doorway carrying a handgun. He advanced on the officers
and starting shooting in their direction. Several of his fired bullets entered into an occupied apartment.
The officers returned fire, striking him several times.