UPDATE: A retired defense contractor who admitted firing several shots from a handgun outside his Carlstadt home because of a neighbor's "loud parties and noise" must spend a plea-bargained 364 days in the Bergen County Jail.
David Knoll, who had no previous history of trouble, had been suffering from depression exacerbated by COVID-19 isolation when he squeezed off three shots into the air in early May, defense attorney Brian Neary told a judge in Hackensack on Friday.
Knoll, 62, for his part, told the judge he didn't intend to kill or frighten anyone with the .22-caliber handgun but realized he'd broken the law and took responsibility for it.
Superior Court Judge Carol Novey Catuogno, in turn, said she weighed "the terror that those in his community must have experienced in hearing gunshots in the street," along with the necessity of a ramped-up police response to an active shooter call, in determining the sentence.
Borough officers -- backed up by colleagues from East Rutherford, Wood-Ridge and the Bergen County Sheriff's Office -- quickly took Knoll into custody after responding to Division Avenue on May 2.
They asked area residents to temporarily remain sheltered in place while the arrest was made and the house was cleared.
The incident was "related to an ongoing dispute with a neighbor over loud parties and loud noise," Detective Sgt. John Cleary said at the time.
Detectives obtained a search warrant, did a more thorough search and found an assault rifle, eight high‐capacity magazines and five handguns, including the handgun he used outside, Cleary said.
They also found 80 rounds of .223-caliber ammunition as well as 9mm rounds and .380- and .22-caliber ammunition, the sergeant said.
Knoll, who police said didn't have a New Jersey firearms ID card, purchased the guns legally while living in Virginia, Neary said.
Rather than face trial, his client took a deal from county prosecutors, pleading guilty to unlawful possession of a handgun in exchange for the county jail sentence, followed by two years of probation. He also agreed to surrender his weapons as part of the deal.
Catuogno applied the more than two months that Knoll had already spent in the county jail to his sentence.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.