2006-05-26 / Front Page

Rookie Cops Seize Loaded Gun At Hammels

By Brian Magoolaghan

Two brand new cops assigned to the 100 Precinct took a loaded handgun off the streets of Rockaway Beach last weekend and charged four men in connection with the incident, The Wave learned this week.

The rookie police officers, Richard Collins and Dave Teta, made the arrests at the Hammel Houses at about 1 a.m. on Saturday, May 20, court records show. Collins and Teta were patrolling near the Hammels building at 81-05 Rockaway Beach Boulevard when they saw four young men - one of them allegedly holding a silver gun in his hand - run into the building.

In an attempt to ditch the cops, the young men headed for the building's stairwell. Newbie officers Collins and Teta were confronted in the third floor stairwell by Jerome Nelson, 16, who allegedly tried to block their path. He laid down on the steps "with his legs spread open and one of his arms on each of the walls," according to court records.

The rookies got past Nelson and caught up with the suspect allegedly holding the gun, later identified as Ronney Smalls, 20, who fumbled the weapon and dropped the clip on the stairs on the seventh floor, according to court records.

The officers said Smalls then handed the gun off to his brother, Andrew Smalls, 19, as the fled to the roof, where Andrew tossed the weapon.

Police recovered the clip, which contained six rounds, in the stairwell, and a Cobra .380 automatic handgun, with one round in the chamber, from the rooftop of an adjacent building.

Officers Collins and Teta arrested Ronney and Andrew Smalls, who are each charged with two counts of felony criminal weapons posession and criminal trespass. Jerome Nelson was arrested and charged with obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest and criminal trespass. He received a conditional discharge. A third Smalls brother, Cedric was arrested, but his charges were not available at press time.

The arrest so impressed the commanding officer of the 100 Precinct, Captain Charles "Butch" Neacy, that he detailed the events at the start of his talk with the community council Wednesday night. Neacy called it "a good arrest" and was particularly impressed, he said, because Collins and Teta are so new to the NYPD that "the leather [on their holsters] is not even broken in yet."

Ronney Smalls, of 54-30 Beach Channel Drive, is due back in court June 2 along with Cedric and Andrew Smalls, of 76-00 Shore Front Parkway. Nelson, of 82-02 Beach Channel Drive, is due back June 22.

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