RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A man convicted of the attempted murder of a Suffolk County police officer received the maximum sentence Monday.

In a courtroom packed with uniformed police officers, alleged gang member Sheldon Leftenant, 23, was sentenced to 55 years to life in prison, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.

“A sentence like this is a victory because it does send the right message,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini said.

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota was also pleased with the harsh sentence.

“This man has no regard at all for human life. I hope that he spends the rest of his life in jail, that’s what he deserves,” Spota said.

Leftenant was found guilty in January of attempted aggravated murder and related charges in the shooting of Suffolk County Police Officer Mark Collins.

Authorities said Leftenant ran from a car during a traffic stop in Huntington Station last March. As Collins gave chase on foot, prosecutors said Leftenant fired four shots, two of which hit Collins in the hip and neck.

Before he was sentenced, Leftenant told the judge “the situation got out of hand,” WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs reported.

“My regards go out to Officer Collins and his family,” Leftenant said.

Collins nearly died from the gunshot wound to his neck. He was placed in a medically-induced coma during his recovery.

He has since recovered and returned to work.

“As you can imagine I have a whole different outlook on life and a lot of things mean a lot more to me these days and I’m happy to be here,” Collins said. “I’m just happy to be here and be back to work and live a healthy life again.”

Outside the court room, Leftenant’s wife claimed her husband was framed.

“He is innocent and we will prove that in an appeal. Sheldon did not have a fair trial,” Angelica Leftenant said.

Collins used a taser gun to try to subdue Leftenant, but prosecutors said he was answered with gunfire. They added the only reason Officer Collins is alive is because Leftenant ran out of bullets.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


Leave a Reply