Jennel Funderburke of Coram pleaded not guilty on Friday, May 12 in Suffolk County Court to attempted murder in connection with the shooting death of a Suffolk County police officer the previous day.

Police have been monitoring Funderburke’s home in Coram, on Homesteads Drive near Norfleet Lane, as part of an investigation into an armed robbery on Thursday, May 11, according to police.

When he saw police, he reportedly fled the home on foot and was chased by Officer Michael LaForge.

As the pair ran, Fenderburke turned and shot LaFauci twice, hitting him in the right thigh, police said.

La Forge, a six-year veteran of the department and the father of a baby who later underwent emergency surgery at Stony Brook University Hospital, Suffolk County Police Chief Rodney Harrison told reporters at a news conference.

His condition has since been upgraded from severe to fair.

“We ask for your prayers for him and his family,” Harrison said.

Suffolk County PBA President Noel DiGerolamo told reporters outside court on Friday that the shooting came three years after Suffolk County police rescued Funderburke and three others from a burning car.

“They saved his life only for him to try to kill someone,” he said. “This is what our leaders in Albany created.”

Following the car rescue, police reportedly found illegal drugs and a handgun belonging to Fenderberg, DiGloramo said.

Funderburke was arrested at the scene on Friday and charged with:

  • attempted aggravated murder
  • first degree robbery

According to Harrison, Fenderberg was a member of the Bloody street gang and had “numerous contacts with the police,” including an August 2022 arrest for illegal possession of a weapon.

As he left court on Friday, he told reporters, “Tell him I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it that way.”

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