Some play musical chairs. Others play musical handguns.
A New York City Corrections officer found himself on the wrong side of the law last week after his department-issued weapon ended up in the hands of two other people.
Police said that the dangerous game of keepaway started when Joseph LaFleur, 28, and his friend Jean Hegel, 27, were preparing to meet up with some women at Cafe Remy on Third Avenue near 71st Street Saturday night.
Police said that before the celebration began, LaFleur made a point to put his 9-mm pistol and a clip with ten rounds of ammunition in his car’s glove box.
Yet in the hours that followed, Hegel got into an argument with two other men, officials said.
In a fit of anger, he allegedly ran back to the car to retrieve the gun without the corrections officer’s knowledge.
He soon returned with the pistol, police alleged, but the people he was arguing with were just too fast for him. Police said that as Hegel allegedly spouted threats and drew his pistol, one of the men he was allegedly aiming at, later identified as Phillip Thompson, 22, snatched the gun out of his hand and ran off to a nearby subway station.
After being told what transpired, the corrections officer called police, claiming that someone had mugged him and ran off with his gun.
He then managed to track down Thompson. He even went to the man’s Fort Greene home to demand that he return the pistol, police said.
But Thompson wouldn’t give it up, police alleged.
Police said that the pistol was ultimately returned, but only after LaFleur came clean and was charged with filing a false report. Hegel and Thompson were later charged with menacing and criminal possession of a weapon.
In a roundabout way, a nearby shooting caused the gun swipe to come to light.
Sources said that LaFleur reported the gun stolen in the 72nd Precinct, not knowing that at roughly the same time a man was shot in the hip on Third Avenue near 93rd Street.
Upon hearing that the 68th Precinct was investigating the shooting, cops from the 72nd Precinct told them about LaFleur. When 68th Precinct detectives brought LaFleur in for questioning, the corrections officer told them what really happened.
Calls to the city’s Department of Corrections about LaFleur’s arrest were not returned by press time.
©2009 Community News Group
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