For the 38th time since 2017, a New York parole board has seen fit to release a cop killer.
By the time November winds to a close, Patrick Bannon — sentenced to 30 years to life for the “barbaric” 1992 execution of off-duty NYPD Officer Paul Heidelberger outside a Bayside, Queens, nightclub — will be back on the streets.
“When he walks out of the prison gates, will my brother walk in and say, ‘Hey, I’m home?'” Heidelberger’s older sister, Anne Fullam, asked the New York Post. “No. My brother’s never coming home.”
A convicted killer, who murdered NYPD Police Officer, Paul Heidelberger, in cold blood in Queens, in 1992, has been released from prison, making Patrick Bannon the 38th cop killer freed from jail since 2017. Let me repeat: COP KILLER! #BlueLivesMatter https://t.co/wmKf0cFZ6F
— David Burke (@ConservativeTht) November 5, 2023
“This man, supposedly, has a child,” Fullam noted. “Paul never got the chance to be a father.”
Heidelberger was just 28 years old when, on July 18, 1992, he was out with his friends.
A fight broke out, which he broke up, police said. Heidelberger then escorted people to their cars on Bell Boulevard.
“Bannon, a 25-year-old weight-lifter and bouncer from one of the clubs, was in a Lincoln Town car when he fired a 9-millimeter handgun at Heidelberger’s group, striking three men, including the cop, who was shot in the neck,” The Post reports. “Bannon then walked up to Heidelberger and shot him in the head.”
“He came back and picked up my brother by his hair and shot him again in the head while Paul was pleading for his life and saying he’s a cop,” Fullam tearfully explained. “And every time I think about that, it’s just, it’s extremely hard for me.”
Remember our @NYPDPSA4 brother P.O. Paul Heidelberger, shot and killed 31 years ago today after intervening in a dispute while off-duty. His sacrifice is never forgotten. #FidelisAdMortem pic.twitter.com/0WezgUB0gX
— NYC PBA (@NYCPBA) July 18, 2023
In addition to killing the off-duty officer, one of the other men who was caught by one of Bannon’s bullets also died.
Witnesses identified Bannon, who fled the scene, and a manhunt ensued.
A $10,000 reward was offered by then-Mayor David Dinkins, and, after six weeks, Bannon turned himself in at the Queens district attorney’s office.
Fullam, the oldest of Heidelberger’s six siblings, thought Bannon’s arrest marked the end of the nightmare.
“I had hoped he would never, ever get out because of the way he killed my brother,” she said.
The parole board had previously rejected the 56-year-old Bannon’s release.
“Law enforcement sources said the surge in freeing cop killers is due in large part to a revision in 2017 to the rules governing how the 17-member parole board weighs a prisoner’s release, thanks to years of lobbying by prison reformers and legal groups,” according to The Post. “The board uses a ‘risk and needs assessment’ score that considers an inmate’s age and record while in prison more than the initial crime, a source said.”
“He was doing this that and the other thing in prison, good things supposedly, but what about Paul?” Fullam asked. “What about the good things that he did?”
Patrick Hendry, president of the Police Benevolent Association (PBA), the world’s largest municipal police union, is outraged at Bannon’s release.
@NYPDPSA4 P.O. Paul Heidelberger’s killer PAROLED
Hendry:“No sane New Yorker supports the release of this barbaric cop-killer. But the parole board does, because they value a murderer’s life more than the life of a hero police officer.”
— NYC PBA (@NYCPBA) November 5, 2023
“No sane New Yorker supports the release of this barbaric cop-killer,” Hendry stated. “But the parole board does, because they value a murderer’s life more than the life of a hero police officer.”
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