A man sentenced Friday to 25 years in state prison for a 2015 shooting appeared to threaten the prosecutor as officers led him out afterward.
Bruce Campbell, 25, of Schenectady, convicted in December of shooting and wounding a man, turned, pointed his fingers in the shape of a gun in the direction of the prosecutor Kyle Petit and made a noise like “pow,” according to those who saw the gesture.
A Gazette reporter in the courtroom heard the noise but was focused elsewhere at the time and did not see the gesture.
The incident happened while the sentencing judge, Louise Sira, remained on the bench. Corrections officers continued Campbell out of the courtroom.
Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney later said his office will respond by ensuring that state prison officials know about it.
“When it comes from somebody like him, it’s concerning to me because I do think he’s a dangerous man,” Carney said.
The jury in December found Campbell opened fire April 7, 2015, across from Hamilton Elementary School in the Mont Pleasant neighborhood, hitting victim Andrew Reid. Paramedics rushed Reid to Albany Medical Center and he survived.
The jury deliberated for more than two days before reaching its verdict. Petit argued that Campbell shot Reid once in a random attack, and the bullet lodged near his spine. Reid suffered lasting numbness but has otherwise recovered.
Prosecutors believe Campbell was trying to rob the victim. When the victim refused to comply, Campbell fired.
Petit argued in court Friday for the maximum sentence allowed, which he contended was up to 34 years in state prison.
He noted that Campbell has been free only two years since turning 17, getting repeatedly rearrested on new crimes.
Petit also noted that Campbell is a member of the Crips gang and the local Ku-Gang and has extensive connections to other gang members and won’t leave that life.
“It’s not a question of if he commits new crimes, but when,” Petit told the court. “And that ‘when’ depends on your honor’s sentence today.”
Campbell’s attorney, Michael Horan, argued for a lesser sentence, saying Campbell came from a troubled background. He asked that Sira impose a sentence where he can receive training and have a meaningful life after he is released.
In his own comments to the court, Campbell questioned references to associates, saying he doesn’t have anything to do with what goes on with them. He’s been in jail for much of the past two years.
“Yes I have a criminal record, that’s the past,” he said.
He added that he’s made mistakes and that he’s not perfect.
Sira then imposed the 25-year sentence.
He made the gesture as he was led out shortly afterward.
Asked about the gesture later, Horan said he didn’t see it and couldn’t comment.
Carney said Petit will address the incident when Campbell is next in court, on a jail assault case.
Campbell is due to be tried in the coming weeks, accused of injuring a corrections officer at the jail during a fight last year.
Prosecutors will then ask for the information to go with Campbell to state prison.
“Any time there is that sort of a threat against a prosecutor, the prison authorities should know about it,” Carney said.
“Kyle is just being a professional doing his job,” Carney said at another point, “and doing it well.”
Authorities have said Campbell was also involved in events that preceded the murder of Kusaan Tolliver in July 2015 on Schenectady Street.
Campbell was a Tolliver associate and pointed a gun at the mother of Jonathan Monforte on July 28, 2015, as Monforte and Tolliver fought. Police arrived and arrested Campbell, though he was unarmed at the time of his arrest. He was charged with a misdemeanor and taken into custody.
Monforte, who returned later that evening and shot and killed Tolliver, is serving 25 years in prison for manslaughter.