Man accused of attacking RPD officer Denny Wright pleads not guilty

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The man accused of stabbing a Rochester police officer multiple times pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Tuesday morning.

Keith Williams, 28 of Rochester, is charged with attempted aggravated murder and aggravated assault of police officer Dennison “Denny” Wright. Officials say additional charges may be considered by a Monroe County Grand Jury.

Williams was given no bail and is scheduled to return to court October 11 at 10:30 a.m.

Hundreds of police officers attended the arraignment in support of Officer Wright.

“Denny Wright has trained about 75 police officers in this department. So the tentacles that Denny has spread far and wide in this department and you saw some of the emotion on some of the officer’s faces,” said Rochester Police Chief La’Ron D. Singletary.

Rochester police say the charges are the result of a “vicious attack” on Peck Street last Friday in which Williams is accused of repeatedly stabbing the longtime Rochester officer in the face, left eye, and lower body.

This is not the first call to the house on Peck street. Williams has multiple assault and weapons charges from a standoff with police in June of this year. Those charges are still pending.

According to the Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley, a grand jury could charge Williams with more in connection with the officer stabbing.

“When a person attempts to kill a police officer who is working in the line of his official duty, that’s aggravated murder. I believe the facts may show that this was an attempted aggravated murder,” Doorley.

Doorley believes this case will not see a preliminary hearing, stating, “We won’t be doing a preliminary hearing, probably go into grand jury in the next couple of days and plan to hand a certification in on Friday.”

Wright suffered “severe” injuries in the attack. He underwent surgery and has been recovering at Rochester General Hospital ever since. RPD deputy chief Mark Mura said bystanders helped when they saw the attack happening. That good Samaritan spoke to News 8 Monday about the intense moments leading up to and during the attack.

“He did not give up,” said Police Chief Singletary. “…and I told him, Denny I know you didn’t and I’m proud of the way he served his community and the way he protected himself throughout this ordeal but certainly he has a long road to recovery.”

In support of Officer Wright, the Greater Rochester International Airport, along with several downtown buildings, were lit up with the color blue. Officers on social media used the hashtag “#WrightByYourSide” in a show of support. Monroe County Executive said Monday that the airport’s canopy would remain lit in support of Officer Wright until he is discharged from the hospital.

Wright is a 20-plus year veteran of the force and is well respected for his community outreach, which includes dancing with Rochester City School District students in his wife’s classroom. Wright’s wife, Sonia Lagares-Wright, is an RCSD teacher who won a Golden Apple award in 2017.

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