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Take plea or be tried for selling gun used in Hackensack police shootout, judge tells defendant

Photo Credit: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia
Photo Credit: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY SHERIFF
Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter / MUGSHOTS (Jerry "Angel" Nunez, Sean Stark, Christiana Cyriax): Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A Paramus man who sold a handgun that a fleeing fugitive used to shoot at Hackensack police officers has until April 6 to accept a plea deal or go to trial, a judge in Hackensack said this morning.

Sean Stark was one of two middlemen in the journey of a gun sold by a retired Florida law enforcement officer to a pawn shop.

Robert Leonardis (MUGSHOT: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY SHERIFF)

The weapon ended up in the hands of Robert Leonardis, a self-proclaimed Bloods gang member who was wanted for attempted murder when he led Hackensack officers on a chase that ended in a violent confrontation the morning of July 22, 2013.

Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Danielle Grootenboer this morning told Superior Court Judge James J. Guida that plea discussions with Stark’s attorney “were productive” but that there were sticking points over certain weapons charges.

Leonardis is charged with the attempted murders of Sgt. James Dalton and Officers Joseph Ayoubi and Brett McCarthy, in addition to the charges of attempted reckless bodily injury against all three.

Jorge Alberto Rodriguez PHOTO: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter / MUGSHOTS (Jerry “Angel” Nunez, Sean Stark, Christiana Cyriax): Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE

Ayoubi was “lucky to be alive” after a bullet fired by Leonardis shattered the windshield of his squad car and whizzed by his head, city Police Director Michael Mordaga told CLIFFVIEW PILOT soon after the shooting.

Leonardis was out on bail on attempted murder charges at the time for stabbing a Ridgefield man who broke into his home carrying a tire iron in a fight over the intruder’s wife, authorities said.

Dalton, a 13-year department veteran, was first on the scene with another officer after a call came in of a man with a gun in the housing projects on Newman Street and Railroad Avenue.

Seeing the officers, Leonardis ran, Mordaga said. READ MORE….

STORY / PHOTOS: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia

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