A former Paterson police officer was charged Friday for allegedly firing a gun into the air and pointing the weapon at another person during an altercation on Abbett Avenue following a verbal dispute earlier that evening outside a Morristown bar, the Morris County Prosecutor's Office said.
Dustin Bradley, 27, of Rockaway, was charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and third-degree receiving stolen property stemming from an alleged incident on May 28. No one was injured in the incident, the prosecutor's office said.
Bradley, who was hired as a Paterson police officer in 2007 before he was laid off in April 2011, was arrested during a motor vehicle stop in Rockaway Friday following an investigation conducted by the prosecutor's office, the , the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit and Morris County Sheriff’s Department Criminal Investigations Unit and K9.
According to an arrest affidavit on file with the Morris County Court, an undercover police officer, stationed at the intersection of Abbett Avenue and the access road to the shopping center at 30 Lafayette Ave., witnessed a group of four males exit one vehicle and four to five males exit a second vehicle on May 28 at about 4 a.m.
According to the officer, two males of the second vehicle were also carrying baseball bats, the affidavit said.
The officer then witnessed a physical altercation between the men and one man striking another several times in the face with a bat, knocking him to the ground, the affidavit said.
As the officer approached the group in his car but without turning on his lights, a white male approached the group and was struck in the head with a bat by a black male, the affidavit said.
After being struck, the officer witnessed the white male pull a silver handgun from his waistband and fired a single shot into the air, the affidavit said. The officer then witnessed the man point the pistol at the man who had hit him over the head with the baseball bat, the affidavit said.
The officer then activated his emergency lights, drawing the attention of those involved in the altercation and causing the males to run, the affidavit said.
The officer pursued the while male who was carrying the gun with his patrol car westbound on Abbett Avenue toward Ridgedale Avenue before engaging in a foot pursuit when the male entered the parking lot at 60 Abbett Ave., the affidavit said.
The officer witnessed the man throw the handgun to the ground near the rear western portion of the auto shop property, the affidavit said. The man then jumped over the fence and continued into a wooded area behind the lot, the affidavit said.
The officer halted the pursuit and searched and found the gun, the affidavit said.
Authorities were informed that one of the men injured in the altercation went to St. Claire's in Denville for treatment, the affidavit said.
This witness led authorities to others involved in the incident and told detectives that the situation began earlier that night at on South Street, the affidavit said.
According to the witnesses, the male and several of his friends got into a verbal altercation with another group of men after the bar closed, the affidavit said.
One of the witnesses claimed to receive "harassing text messages and phone calls" from the male and the two decided to meet on Abbett Avenue to "settle the issue," the affidavit said.
The witnesses identified Bradley as the man who allegedly fired the gun, the affidavit said.
Officers arrested Bradley Friday after he left his Rockaway residence, the affidavit said.
According to the affidavit, Bradley said he was at Sona Thirteen Bar the night of the incident and admitted he was involved in a verbal dispute there, but denied being at the Abbett Avenue incident.
Bradley was transported to the Morris County Correctional Facility in lieu of $50,000 bail with no 10 percent option.