By Jano Tantongco
Sheldon Leftenant, a Huntington Station gang member, was given the maximum sentence of 55 years to life in prison for shooting, and nearly killing, Suffolk County Second Precinct Police Officer Mark Collins.
On Monday, Leftenant, who was convicted by Jan. 26, was sentenced by Supreme Court Justice John Collins to 40 years to life on the attempted murder charged, and to 15 years to life on the criminal possession of a weapon charge, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota.
"I hope and trust that he spends every single day of the remainder of his natural life in prison because that's where he belongs," stated Spota, who recommended Leftenant be given the maximum sentence.
Suffolk Second Precinct Deputy Inspector Bill Read said in an interview Wednesday that “the sentencing, we thought, was certainly fair, just, adequate and appropriate.”
“It was a very vicious crime and the maximum punishment was called for,” Read said. “Police work is always a dangerous profession.”
Reed added that the department is “grateful” Collins survived his injury and was able to return to duty in January.
Leftenant, 23, was an alleged member of the “Tip Top Boyz” gang, which Reed said was based out of Leftenant’s 7 Tippin Drive home.
It was the “de facto headquarters,” Reed said. Further, he said, residents, which included Leftenant’s family members and fellow gang members, were evicted a few months ago.
Leftenant shot Collins just before midnight on March 11, 2015 after Suffolk police stopped a car he was riding in and ordered him from the vehicle. Leftenant ran, but was chased by Collins who caught up with him and forced him down to the ground. During a struggle, Collins was shot twice by Leftenant, once in the neck and once in the hip.
According Spota, Collins attempted to take out his weapon, but his right arm went limp. Leftenant escaped via the backyard of a Mercer Court residence.
Police later apprehended Leftenant, who found hiding in a shed around .25 miles away from the location of the shooting.