Men facing charges for shooting at police

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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.