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Detective Who Shot Partner Had Been Drinking in Rockaway Bar: Sources

By Murray Weiss | April 25, 2014 5:57pm
 Two NYPD detectives were drinking at Wharf Bar & Grill before one accidentally shot the other.
Two NYPD detectives were drinking at Wharf Bar & Grill before one accidentally shot the other.
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facebook; Wharf Bar and Grill

QUEENS — An NYPD detective spent several hours drinking beer with his partner in a popular Rockaway Park seaside bar before getting behind the wheel of his police car, taking out his gun, and accidentally shooting his partner in the wrist early Thursday morning, DNAinfo has learned.

Det. Jay Poggi, 57, a decorated 31-year veteran, and his partner, Matt Sullivan, an officer for 15 years, were traveling into Queens to follow up on leads to a Brooklyn robbery when they pulled into the Wharf Bar and Grill on Beach 116th St. near Cross Bay Blvd. at around 1 a.m., sources said.

The partners, who are assigned to the 75th Precinct in East New York, apparently stayed at the popular family eatery enjoying beer and the views of Lower Manahttan until approximately 3 a.m., investigators piecing together the pair's movements told “On The Inside."

The duo eventually got back into their unmarked police car and pulled away with Poggi behind the wheel.

During the ride, Poggi allegedly took out his Smith & Wesson .38 caliber service revolver and was showing it to his partner when the revolver accidentally went off, hitting Sullivan in the wrist.

Poggi sped to Jamaica Hospital where Sullivan underwent surgery. Poggi then was taken into custody and failed an alcohol field exam, blowing a .11 level, which is above the .08 legal limit.

The Queens District Attorney charged Poggi with drunk driving, but other charges involving reckless endangerment may follow, sources say.

Sources said Poggi appears to have clocked out of work at about midnight, but his partner had just clocked into work at midnight.

Investigators are still trying to determine all their movements that evening.  "I've seen a lot of strange ones," one senior law enforcement investigator said. "This is a strange one."

An angry Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said there was no slug recovered from the vehicle, leading investigators to question whether the shooting took place outside the car.

"I am very disturbed by the actions of these two detectives," Bratton said. "They were supposed to be working but it appears they were doing anything but."

He said they were supposed to be out investigating a robbery, "but it appears they spent a large amount of time at a location that had nothing to do with that investigation."

Investigators are checking E-Z pass records, surveillance pass, cameras and car mileage on the vehicle car.

Bratton added that next week he plans to meet with the heads of the detective bureau and all the borough chiefs to "be sure the activities of these two detectives is an aberration."

He said that type of behavior "cannot and will not be tolerated."

Poggi's lawyer, James Moschella, did not return calls seeking comment.