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News

Drunken Ex-Con Fights Police Over Gun On Route 17 After Hit-Run Victim Follows Him From NYC

Jamel McCaskill
Jamel McCaskill Photo Credit: BERGEN COUNTY SHERIFF

Hasbrouck Heights police had to fight a combative ex-con to get a gun away from him after he was followed to a Route 17 gas station by the victim of a hit-and-run crash in Washington Heights, authorities said.

A drunken Jamel McCaskill, 44, also had $20,000 in banded cash in his totaled car, police said after Friday night's arrest.

McCaskill was known to authorities, having been shot by a rival gang member in Harlem six years ago.

The case made international headlines after the sentencing judge told the shooter: "Black lives don’t matter to black people.”

A caller told Hasbrouck Heights police following Friday’s late-night hit-and-run in the city that he’d couldn’t get McCaskill to stop, Detective Lt. Michael Colaneri Jr. said.

So he followed McCaskill over the George Washington Bridge and, eventually, into the lot at the Shell Station off southbound Route 17 at Henry Street shortly before midnight, the lieutenant said.

Officer Michael Renna was the first to arrive. Officers James Ciccarelli, Michael DeSimone and John Cambridge instantly backed him up.

The officers were trying to administer a DWI field test when they noticed the intoxicated McCaskill carrying a gun, Colaneri said.

McCaskill resisted and had to be subdued by the officers, who seized what turned out to be a loaded Ruger, he said.

Remaining combative, he was taken to headquarters.McCaskill was "carrying a fake ID and wouldn’t provide any information about who he is,” Colaneri said.

It turned out McCaskill was wanted by authorities in Orange County, NY,  which allowed police to identify him, the lieutenant said.

He was sent to the Bergen County Jail after refusing a breath test, Colaneri said, adding that the wrecked vehicle was towed.

McCaskill six years ago survived being shot four times, including in the stomach, in Harlem by a man described as a member of a rival gang that calls itself 40 Wolves.

The accused gunman, Tareek Arnold, fled police custody but was captured a month later.

McCaskill later testified in Arnold's defense, claiming he wasn’t the shooter -- despite video surveillance video that showed he was.

Arnold was convicted and later sentenced to 24 to 26 years in prison for attempted murder.

The case made headlines after New York Justice Edward McLaughlin, the sentencing judge, told Arnold that “black lives don’t matter to black people with guns.”

SEE: Manhattan judge hits out at gunman with political dig

McCaskill remained held Monday in the county lockup pending a first appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court.

He’s charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, hindering, money laundering and weapons offenses, including being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

He also was also charged with being a fugitive from justice for the Orange County sheriff's warrant.

Wood-Ridge, Rochelle Park and Moonachie police assisted during Friday night’s incident.

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