Amsterdam council member arrested on gun charges


AMSTERDAM – City of Amsterdam 4th Ward Alderman Stephen Gomula was arraigned on two class D felony gun charges Wednesday in front of City Court Judge William Mycek.

Gomula was arrested on Saturday, Dec. 10 by New York State Police and charged with 3rd Degree Criminal Possession of an Assault Rifle and 3rd Degree Criminal Possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device.

Gomula confirmed his arrest, arraignment and the charges against him Saturday night. He said he’s been advised by his legal counsel not to provide details about the charges against him, but said the charges against him were “a separate issue” from his also having threatened to kill himself with a shotgun on Dec. 10, an incident he described in a lengthy social media post on Friday.

“I am doing better now, but I do suffer from [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder] after 20 years working in emergency services, and I am under the care of a therapist and I’m doing better,” Gomula said.

Whether Gomula’s threat to kill himself occurred before or after state police charged him was unclear as of Sunday evening. New York state Police on Saturday and Sunday did not respond to requests for more information about the charges against Gomula and the scenario that resulted in his arrest. As of press time Sunday, information regarding Gomula’s arrest had not been posted to the Troop G police blotter at

In Gomula’s social media post, he described his threat to kill himself on Dec. 10. He said he went to a place that is special to him while “demons raged” in his head. He wrote that he reached out to a friend who contacted his former fiancee Lauren Elizabeth Griffen and those two alerted the Amsterdam Police Department who intervened and took Gomula to St. Mary’s Hospital where he stayed for three days.

“I know I could’ve reached out to any one of the hundreds of friends who care, but those demons stopped me,” Gomula wrote. “PTSD is so much to so many. I am not just talking about First Responders, because I believe that everyone has it in one way, shape or form. I was diagnosed about 2 years ago after working nearly 20 years in emergency services, with the majority of that time in EMS. I am ashamed. Not because I suffer from this disease, but because I didn’t seek help sooner. Although the actions I have taken in my life were my own fault and I take full responsibility, this disease led me down the wrong path. I’m not doing this for sympathy. I’ve hurt many people. Too many. I’m sorry. I just want to help others like me who may be close to breaking.”

Gomula has faced legal troubles in the past. A former Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputy, he was arrested in 2003 on a charge of second degree menacing after an off-duty incident involving an argument with a man named Tracy Craig during which Gomula aimed his service revolver at Craig and then lowered it, while an on-duty Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputy Chad Alukonis stood nearby.

After the altercation with Craig, Gomula and Alukonis encountered another sheriff’s deputy, Sgt. Rob Catalano, at a nearby convenience store and told him what had happened, which resulted in disciplinary proceedings. Gomula and Catalano ultimately resigned and Alukonis was suspended for 45 days without pay.

Gomula pleaded guilty to the menacing charge and served 30 days in county jail. He then enlisted in the U.S. Army reserves where he became a medic and served for 10 years. His training as a medic for the military ultimately led him to become a civilian emergency medical technician, a job he did for 15 years.

Gomula’s former fiancee Lauren E. Griffen, 31, of Amsterdam, was arrested Aug. 31 and charged with one count of computer trespass, a felony. Griffen was alleged to have made five unauthorized inquiries using DMV’s COMPASS search application while working as an account clerk typist for the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office. Griffen’s final day with the district attorney’s office was Aug. 4.

Court records show Griffen is alleged to have made the unauthorized inquires into the DMV computer during a two-minute span on March 15. During that time Gomula was also employed by Montgomery County in its department of social services. Gomula announced on social media that he left his employment with the county on Nov. 28 and his profile now lists him as an employee of Catholic Charities.

Montgomery County District Attorney Lorraine Diamond on Saturday said part of the allegation against Griffen is that she had been looking up records for Gomula related to child support payments connected to county DSS clients, but Gomula was never charged in relation to the incident because, although it is alleged the information was being accessed illegally, it was only being shared between two county employees.

Diamond said she recused herself from the prosecution of Griffen because she had worked in her office, and the Saratoga County District Attorney’s office has been appointed the special prosecutor in that case. Diamond said she will make a motion to recuse herself from the prosecution of Gomula and ask the court to appoint a special prosecutor for his case because of Gomula’s connection to Griffen.

Gomula, a Republican, first emerged as a political candidate during a special election in 2018 to replace former 4th Ward Alderman Rodney Wojnar who resigned after he was charged with 3rd-degree patronizing a prostitute. In the 2018 special election, Gomula was defeated by Democrat David Dybas, but then Gomula won the rematch with Dybas when the two squared-off for a full two-year term for the council seat in 2019. Gomula then ran unopposed for his second two-year term in 2021.

Gomula said Saturday he’s “not resigning or anything, right now” from his council seat, but he has discussed his arrest with Mayor Michael Cinquanti, and is uncertain what will happen next.

“We’re not sure what the procedures are, because I am accused right now, I haven’t been convicted of anything, but I believe it’s going to be up to the rest of the council whether I stay or not,” Gomula said.

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