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Teen caught with ‘high-powered’ handgun, Paterson police say

September 10, 2015

PATERSON - City detectives caught a 17-year-old boy carrying a handgun after responding to a report of shots fired late Wednesday, police said.

The teen, whose name was not released because of his age, was being held at the Essex County Juvenile Detention Center ahead of court proceedings, according to Police Director Jerry Speziale.

Officers responded to the area of Clinton and North 1st streets around 11:15 p.m. based on an alert from the city's Shotspotter system, which detects the sound of gunfire, Speziale said.

Investigators didn't find any shooting victims, but recovered "ballistic evidence" at the scene, police said.

Ceasefire Unit members Detective Rolando Polio and Prosecutor's Office Detective Michael Boone were checking the area when they spotted three people walking nearby, Speziale added. When the detectives moved-in, they noticed the gun sticking out of the teen's pants pocket.

One member of the group tried to flee on foot by was stopped by Officers William Niebanck and Ryan Duffy, according to the director.

The 17-year-old was taken into custody while the other two juveniles were released to their guardians, he said.

The seized .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol would be sent to a ballistics laboratory for analysis, Speziale added.

"The teamwork by the officers involved was the key to locating the evidence and removing this high-powered weapon from our streets," the police director said in a statement. "The officers utilized good judgment in handling this situation and removed a potentially dangerous weapon from the streets of our city."

The teen faces a juvenile delinquency charge of illegal possession of a firearm.