Trial In Shooting Of Police Officer Begins

Sheldon Leftenant

Sheldon Leftenant

A 23-year-old Huntington Station man accused of shooting a plainclothes Suffolk police officer last year appeared in court Tuesday for the beginning of his trial, which is ongoing.

Sheldon Leftenant was arrested last year after police said he shot Officer Mark Collins on March 11, 2015. Leftenant faces charges of attempted aggravated murder of a police officer, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and resisting arrest.

Police said that Collins and other Suffolk officers stopped a car Leftenant was riding in and ordered him from the vehicle. Leftenant ran, police said, and Collins caught up with him, forcing him down to the ground in a driveway on Mercer Court in Huntington Station. During a struggle during which Collins was trying to handcuff Leftenant, Collins was shot twice, once in the neck and once in the hip, police said.

Collins was seriously injured, but was released from Stony Brook University Medical Center on March 15, 2015, and has since returned to work. Collins, a decorated 13-year veteran, was assigned to Suffolk police department’s gang unit at the time of the shooting.

“We’re grateful Officer Collins has recovered from his serious wounds and has returned to work, and we are confident there is sufficient evidence to prove this defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota stated in an email Monday.

Leftenant’s attorney, Ian Fitzgerald, declined to comment when reached on Monday.          

-ANDREW WROBLEWSKI