Suspect pleads not guilty in Suffolk officer shooting

Officials say a Suffolk County police officer was shot twice early Thursday morning in Huntington Station.

Prosecutors say Officer Mark Collins was assigned to the Crime Section Gang Unit when a car with four people inside sped past him and began swerving. He and two other officers pulled the vehicle over near Mercer Court. At that point, suspect Sheldon Leftenant jumped out of the back seat and ran.

According to police, the suspect made it a few blocks before Collins caught up to him. They say Leftenant, 22, then shot Collins once in the hip and once in the neck. Collins, a 12-year veteran officer, is listed in serious but stable condition. He was put in a medically induced coma after the incident, but is now conscious and responsive, police say. Doctors expect him to make a full recovery.

Police arrested Leftenant at around 1 a.m. when they found him hiding in a shed. After pleading not guilty in court, he was ordered held without bail on charges of attempted aggravated murder and resisting arrest. He is due back in court on Tuesday.

The men in the car were also taken into custody.

District Attorney Tom Spota said Leftenant made an oral admission to detectives, saying that he did not want to get caught with a gun on him.

"All of the police officers recognized the defendants," said Spota. "At least three of the defendants as being members of a local vicious gang."

Leftenant's attorney Ian Fitzgerald says his client maintains his innocence.

"Once we find out more evidence and get more facts, we'll have a better idea of what happened," said Fitzgerald.

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