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Prosecutor: Shooting death of New Milford man was ‘reckless’ accident, $1 million bail for defendant

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A 21-year-old former New Milford man has been charged in what Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said was the “recklessly” accidental shooting death of 22-year-old borough resident Alex Bridge.

Bridge was with Byron V. Sankar, Sankar’s wife and another man outside the rear of the Brookchester Apartment Complex in New Milford, drinking beer “and perhaps smoking marijuana” around 1 o’clock this morning, when Sankar pulled out a .9mm-caliber handgun to show the others, Molinelli said.

The 5-foot-7-inch, 124-pound Sankar “handled the weapon in such a reckless manner that it discharged, striking the victim in the abdomen and resulting in his death,” the prosecutor said, adding that he didn’t legally have the gun.

Everyone fled the scene, although the second man — 22-year-old Aaron Dominic McMorris of Hackensack — called police, returned to the scene and waited for them, he said.

Bridge was taken to Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck after being struck once in the abdomen with the high-caliber bullet, law enforcement sources told CLIFFVIEW PILOT moments after the his body was found in the parking lot of the nearby New Milford Estates housing complex on Reichelt Road just after 1 a.m.

He went into cardiac arrest and died at the hospital, Molinelli confirmed. Bridge, who lived on Monmouth Avenue, worked for Nordstrom, the prosecutor said.

Both Sankar, who recently moved to East Orange, and McMorris “gave evasive and conflicting accounts” of what happened and “took certain actions to impede the investigation” by the Major Crimes Unit of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and New Milford Police, the prosecutor said.

Sankar was being held on $1 million bail, charged with first-degree aggravated manslaughter and illegal handgun possession.

He and McMorris are charged with hindering apprehension.

A second hindering charge was filed against Sankar for trying to hide the gun, Molinelli said.

In addition, authorities charged him with endangering an injured victim.

McMorris, meanwhile, received an additional charge of falsely implicating another. He was being held on $75,000 bail in the county jail.

Court appearances for him and Shankar are scheduled for Tuesday in Hackensack.

McMorris, who Molinelli said works for Eva’s Floral in Mahwah, has a recent adult criminal record that includes an arrest by the Palisades Interstate Parkway police in Alpine in April for obstruction and providing false information — while he was out on bail.

Weeks earlier, Fort Lee police arrested him on charges of distributing marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Last December, New Milford police arrested him on charges of using offensive language.

Molinelli thanked the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office Regional Investigative Resource Center Organized Crime Unit and the Teaneck Police Department for their assistance in the investigation.

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