MINEOLA, N.Y. >> An off-duty New York Police Department sergeant accused of shooting a man outside his Long Island home and the man who was struck have both been indicted by a grand jury in connection with the October 2019 shooting, authorities announced Wednesday.
Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said the off-duty officer, Justin Ellis, 35, of Seaford, New York, was indicted on an assault charge, while Patrick Catania, 30, of Point Lookout, New York, was indicted on attempted assault.
Both men pleaded not guilty at their arraignments on Wednesday and were released on their own recognizance.
Singas said Ellis had arrived at his home, which he shared with his wife and children, early on Oct. 25, 2019, and found Catania, whom he knew.
According to the indictment, a confrontation ensued and Catania got a baseball bat and tried to assault Ellis, who is accused of firing at Catania twice and hitting him once in the chest.
Catania’s lawyer, Jason Russo, refuted the contention that his client had been arguing with Ellis or that there was an attempt at assault.
Russo said Catania, a personal trainer, had recently gotten involved romantically with Ellis’ wife, and had previously been in contentious encounters with Ellis.
He said on the occasion in question, Catania had walked away and was at his car, where he had gotten a baseball bat, when he was fired upon.
“We’re shocked by this result,” Russo said of the indictment.
Ellis’ attorney, Andrew Quinn, declined to comment on the circumstances, but said, “We believe his actions were justified given the circumstances.”
Quinn said Ellis had been on modified NYPD duty after the shooting, but had been suspended in the wake of the indictment.