Schenectady County

Arrested man says he’s not bike path gunman

The man accused of firing an assault rifle on the bike path in Schenectady says he is not the gunman

The man accused of firing nearly 20 rounds from an assault rifle on the bike path near Manhattan Street says the police arrested the wrong person, and he has witnesses to prove it.

Luis J. Gomez, 30, of 1513 Van Vranken Ave., appeared in Schenectady County Court on Monday morning with his attorney, Glen Brownell.

Gomez was out on $10,000 bail on a prior felony marijuana charge when he was arrested by police July 4 and charged in the gunfire incident, which caused no injuries. He faces one count of first-degree reckless endangerment, a felony.

He was in court Monday to determine whether his bail should be revoked based on his new arrest.

Brownell argued that the earlier bail shouldn’t be revoked because the case against his client in the shooting is weak.

The shooting happened around 8:30 p.m. on the bike path near the dead end of Manhattan Street. Witnesses said they saw a man firing an assault rifle, and a burst of rapid gunfire was audible a quarter-mile away on Maxon Road Extension.

Officers responded to the area and found a suspect matching the description given by witnesses, police said then. A brief foot chase occurred, police said, and the suspect ran into a house at 444-446 Manhattan St.

That house was locked down, police said, and Gomez, 30, of 1513 Van Vranken Ave., was detained for questioning and later charged with felony reckless endangerment. Police say he fired a Romarm/Cugir 7.62×39 rifle, a variant of the AK-47.

But Brownell on Monday said Gomez never left the party he was attending. Brownell said later that the police may have been chasing somebody, but that person wasn’t Gomez, who was arrested at the location of the party.

The shooter was described as wearing yellow shorts, according to Brownell. Gomez wore blue shorts that day and, when he was arrested, was wearing just boxers. He had been sleeping just prior to his arrest, his lawyer said.

Brownell said the fellow partygoers are ready to testify at a bail hearing. He also argued that bail already posted is enough to ensure Gomez shows up for court.

“He not only has a strong defense to this case, he has no reason to flee because of that fact,” Brownell told County Court Judge Karen Drago.

Gomez posted another $20,000 for bail after his arrest last week. He is being held pending a determination whether his original bail should be revoked.

In the earlier marijuana case, he was arrested after a raid on his residence in November. He is accused of possessing enough marijuana to make the case a felony.

Prosecutor Ed Moynihan asked Drago to set bail at $60,000.

Drago reserved judgment, setting a hearing for Wednesday, when the defense’s witnesses can testify.

Brownell also argued that the felony reckless endangerment charge will not stand up. He said there has to be a specific potential victim for the felony charge and, without one, the charge should be a misdemeanor. That also should be considered in setting bail, he said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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