Monday, July 26, 2010

Leader-Observer - Cop Honored for Getting Gun Off the Street by Stephen Geffon - Leader-Observer

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Police Officer Joseph Lamonica of the 106th Precinct was honored with July's Cop of the Month award at last week’s Precinct Community Council meeting for his arrest of two individuals allegedly in possession of a loaded weapon, according to Deputy Inspector Joseph Courtesis, the precinct's commanding officer.

On Sunday, July 4, at 10:15 p.m., Lamonica and his partners were patrolling in one of the precinct’s unmarked fireworks suppression autos on Crossbay Boulevard in Ozone Park, when Lamonica observed a suspicious vehicle that appeared to be casing the area in the vicinity of Gold Street. Lamonica saw the passenger of the auto speak to six young girls, who appeared to be about 12 years old, and then the operator of the vehicle made an illegal U-turn. Lamonica pulled him over for the violation and decided to investigate the situation further.

Courtesis said Lamonica believed that the girls were going to be robbed by the occupants of the vehicle. As the officer approached the vehicle, the passenger attempted to immediately exit the vehicle, raising a red flag to the officers. Both the driver and the passenger appeared very nervous and desperate to distance themselves from the vehicle. When Lamonica looked into the vehicle to see if there were other passengers, he spotted a black-and-silver, fully loaded 9mm firearm lying unattended on the floor by the back seat.

According to Courtesis, the weapon had been reported stolen in Alabama. Both individuals were placed under arrest, possibly thwarting an armed robbery or worse.

One of the suspects had eight prior arrests including two for robbery, two for grand larceny and two for felonious assault, said Courtesis, who noted that the suspect had been arrested two days prior for robbing a female of a cell phone. Both suspects were held on $25,000 bail.