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shooting of police officer

Janell Funderburke

Janell Funderburke Will Be Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison

Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney announced on June 3 that Janell Funderburke, 21, of Coram, pleaded guilty to Attempted Aggravated Murder and Robbery in the First Degree, arising out of two separate incidents that included the shooting a Suffolk County Police Officer in May 2023.

“Today’s guilty plea is a stark reminder of the critical role that law enforcement plays in upholding justice and maintaining the rule of law. This defendant’s heinous actions in shooting an officer, who had clearly identified himself, and then fleeing demonstrate a blatant and egregious disregard for the very fabric of our legal system,” said District Attorney Tierney. “Such acts of violence against those who protect our communities cannot be tolerated and will be met with the full force of justice. I want to thank the Suffolk County Police Department and especially Officer Lafauci for their exemplary work on this case.”

According to court documents and the defendant’s admissions during his guilty plea allocution, on May 8, 2023, Funderburke arranged to meet two women in the vicinity of his residence on Homestead Drive in Coram. After meeting them, an argument ensued and then escalated to Funderburke pointing a black firearm at them

He then threatened to shoot one of the women and stole her money. The women reported the incident to police, and Funderburke was wanted in connection with the gunpoint robbery.

On May 11, 2023, at 12:45 p.m., Suffolk County Police Officer Michael Lafauci was conducting surveillance in Coram in relation to the May 8, 2023, armed robbery investigation when Funderburke was observed walking southbound on Homestead Drive. Officer Lafauci pulled behind Funderburke, exited his unmarked police vehicle and identified himself as a police officer, at which point the defendant began to flee. Officer Lafauci ran after the Funderburke on foot and ordered the defendant to show his hands. Funderburke refused to comply with the orders. As he continued to run, Funderburke turned back towards Officer Lafauci, extended a black firearm with his right hand, and fired twice.

Officer Lafauci was struck in his upper right thigh by one of the bullets and fell to the ground as Funderburke continued to run off towards his residence. Nearby members of the Suffolk County Police Department immediately administered emergency aid to Officer Lafauci. He was subsequently rushed to Stony Brook University Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.

Following his arrest, a search warrant was executed against Funderburke’s residence where a loaded 9 mm semiautomatic pistol with an extended magazine, a quantity of fentanyl, and a quantity of the controlled substance carisoprodol were recovered. A microscopic ballistic examination of the pistol recovered from Funderburke’s residence was the same pistol used to shoot Officer Lafauci.

On June 3, 2024, Funderburke pleaded guilty before Acting Supreme Court Justice Anthony S. Senft, Jr. to Attempted Aggravated Murder, a Class A-1 felony and Robbery in the First Degree, a Class B violent felony. Funderburke is expected to be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

Funderburke is due back in court on July 11, 2024, and he is being represented by Christopher Cassar, Esq.

This case is being prosecuted by Bureau Chief James Slattery and Assistant District Attorneys Donald Barclay and William Richards with assistance from discovery expeditor Isabella Sestak of the Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Pilar O’Rourke of the Appeals Bureau. The investigation was conducted by Brendan O’Hara of the Suffolk County Police Department’s Homicide Squad.