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Paterson PD: Ex-Con Caught Stashing Semi-Automatic Handgun In City 'Safe Streets' Sweep

Officers and detectives on "Safe Streets" initiative. Photo Credit: COURTESY: Paterson PD
East 23rd Street and 12th Avenue in Paterson Photo Credit: Googlemaps

As detectives watched, a Clifton ex-con who was in a large group causing a disturbance on a notorious Paterson street corner pulled a gun from his waistband and stashed it behind a garbage can, authorities said.

The arrest was part of a special initiative over the weekend to fight crime and disorder -- and included participation not only by city police but also city firefighters, the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office and the federal Office of Homeland Security (HSI), authorities said.

The "Safe Streets" operation turned up seven illegal guns in all and produced nearly 2,400 summonses, they said.

It was just before 1:30 a.m. Sunday when Special Investigations Division detectives working the detail got out of their cars to disperse a group at East 23rd Street and 12th Avenue.

That's when they spotted 27-year-old Christopher Lockart ditching the .40-caliber semi-automatic weapon, Police Director Jerry Speziale said.

Lockart tried to tip away but was immediately arrested, Speziale said.

Police charged him with a pair of weapons counts –including being a felon in possession of a firearm – as well as with having armor-penetrating ammo and a high-capacity magazine, both of which are illegal in New Jersey.

Lockart was released pending a court hearing.

“The recovered firearm will be submitted to the New Jersey State Police Laboratory for further examination and analysis,” Speziale said.

The director -- along with Mayor Andre Sayegh and Police Chief Troy Oswald -- dubbed the weekend's "Safe Streets" operation to "combat crime and disorder while making the city safer" a success.

City police:

  • recovered seven illegal handguns;
  • issued 2,190 motor vehicle summonses;
  • issued 180 city ordinance violations for disorderly conduct;
  • made 30 drug arrests for drugs, warrants, weapons possession, disorderly conduct and illegal sale of alcohol.

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