By Jano Tantongco
After a week-long trial, a Huntington Station man was convicted Tuesday of attempting to murder a Second Precinct police officer last year.
Sheldon Leftenant, 23, was convicted by a jury on all charges, court records show, including attempted aggravated murder of a police officer, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and resisting arrest.
Suffolk County District Attorney spokesman Robert Clifford said Leftenant faces 40 years to life in prison, and will be sentenced on March 11, exactly one year after Leftenant shot Officer Mark Collins.
“This case was straightforward in terms of evidence,” Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota said in an email. “It is a testament to the force of Officer Collins' will and determination that he has - in less than a year - returned to work... and we all look forward to the defendant’s sentencing.”
Collins was seriously injured in the shooting, but was released from Stony Brook University Medical Center on March 15, 2015. Collins, a decorated 13-year veteran, has since returned to work.
According to a report in Newsday, Leftenant’s attorney, Ian Fitzgerald, did not attempt to argue whether his client shot Collins, but instead rested his defense upon a question of intent. Fitzgerald did not return calls for comment before deadline, but reports show he contended that Leftenant did not intend to kill Collins, but was reacting to being tackled by the officer.
When reached by telephone on Wednesday, Angelica Valencia, Leftenant’s girlfriend, who considers herself to be his wife, said she felt Fitzgerald did not understand Leftenant nor the full extent of his background.
Valencia said that Leftenant was the victim of a driveby shooting in 2014. Shortly after that, in September, she said Leftenant’s other brother died after battling a rare form of spinal cancer.
“He saw his brother deteriorate due to his cancer,” she said. Valencia said Leftenant also struggles with a clinical diagnosis of ADHD.
She claimed that these factors impaired his ability to react when confronted by police on March 11, 2015.
On that night, police stopped a car Leftenant was riding in and ordered him from the vehicle. Police said Leftenant ran, but was chased by Collins who caught up with him and forced him down to the ground. In the midst of a struggle, during which Collins was trying to handcuff Leftenant, Collins was shot twice, once in the neck and once in the hip.