FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Nassau County police officer has been suspended without pay after allegedly pulling out his gun at a bar.
WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall with the details
Officer Ritchie Heffron was off-duty when he was caught on tape last Tuesday allegedly pulling out his weapon and pointing it at bartender Charlie Ball at the South Main Street Pub in Farmingdale.
Ball told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera he didn’t realize the “severity” of what happened until he watched the video.
“I turn my back and I turned back around and the the next thing I know, he’s got this gun out and pointed right at me,” Ball said. “It could have gone a different way.”
Ball was just closing up for the night when he said Officer Heffron’s drunken demeanor inexplicably turned volatile, belligerent and paranoid.
“I saw him playing around and fidgeting with his shirt, and then he exposed the weapon,” Ball told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan. “I see the gun, it was almost disbelief. I said, ‘put that away before somebody gets hurt.’ He re-holstered the weapon.
“The fellow he was with was saying, ‘are you crazy, are you out of your mind?’ And then he pulled out the gun again,” Ball said.
1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera Speaks With Bartender Charlie Ball
Ball said that the bar, thankfully, was otherwise empty.
“He emptied the ammunition clip, discharged a bullet from the chamber. So now I knew that this was a fully-loaded, automatic weapon ready to go,” Ball said.
No one was injured during the incident.
Bar management notified Nassau Police Internal Affairs. Police said they have been interviewing witnesses and reviewing the tape secured from the pub.
Criminal charges have not been filed against the officer at this time, police said.
“…The investigation confirmed misconduct…including the inappropriate display of his firearm…The officer’s weapons were removed, and the officer was suspended without pay,” the department said in a statement.
Nassau County Police said in a statement that the investigation is continuing in consultation with the Nassau County District Attorney.
Neighbors said the officer has a wife and two children, and that the family is well-liked in the community.
John Danna has known the veteran cop for 15 years.
“Great guy, great neighbor, always going around helping everybody, always wants to help out everybody,” Danna told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez. “Great dad, plays ball with all the kids out here, never seen any violence in him.”
Danna said he was convinced that there’s more to the video than meets the eye.
“There’s definitely something else in this story that the TV or the camera didn’t pick up, there’s definitely another side to this story that’s not being put out there,” Danna said. “It’s not Richie to do something like that.”
Neighbors also said Officer Heffron has admitted himself into alcohol rehab.
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