RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island man is on trial after being accused of running from a traffic stop and then shooting a Suffolk County police officer several times during the chase.
According to authorities, police stopped Sheldon Leftenant, 23, and three others for speeding in Huntington Station last March.
Leftenant then bolted from the car, with Suffolk County police officer Mark Collins chasing after him, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported. According to prosecutors, Leftenant fired four shots at Collins during the chase, with two shot hitting the officer in the neck and hip. Officials said Collins fired a taser at Leftenant, but it was not effective.
“The neck injury was really severe, probably within an inch of hitting him in the carotid artery,” Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota said.
After the shooting, Collins was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital in serious condition and was put into a medically-induced coma during his recovery. Collins eventually recovered and was discharged roughly a week after the incident.
Leftenant pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted aggravated murder and resisting arrest in connection with the shooting of Officer Collins, officials said.
The defense, however, told the jury that it was not Leftenant who shot the officer, and that this was a case of mistaken identity.
Leftenant has a criminal history and is believed to be a member of the street gang known as the “Tip Top Boyz.”
Leftenant faces 40 years to life in prison if convicted.