‘Accidental’ shooting victim now in jail

Nearly a month after a local man was believed to have accidentally shot himself in his apartment in a Kearny Avenue rooming house, the victim now faces criminal charges.

James Hamilton, 21, was reportedly enroute home from an appearance in Newark Municipal Court on Aug. 15 when he was spotted near Beech Street and Seeley Avenue by Police Chief John Dowie.

Knowing that local warrants had been issued by Municipal Court for Hamilton’s arrest, Dowie informed Hamilton of that fact and took him into custody.

Hamilton was booked on charges of unlawful possession of a handgun, unlawful disposition of a handgun and discharge of a firearm within town limits and was held at Hudson County Jail, Kearny, in lieu of $10,000 bail, no 10 percent cash option.

Dowie said Hamilton had no permit for the weapon, a .38-cal. Smith & Wesson revolver, which police seized as evidence the day of the shooting.

At 6 p.m. on Friday, July 19, police were called to Kearny and Halstead Avenues where Hamilton, bleeding heavily from the face, was found lying on the sidewalk in front of the rooming house at 344 Kearny Ave. as a crowd of onlookers gathered around him.

As an ambulance rushed Hamilton to an area hospital for treatment of his wound, police quizzed the victim’s friend, Ariel Cantillo, 21, of Kearny, about the circumstances leading to the shooting and ended up charging Cantillo with tampering with evidence and possession of a firearm after determining that Hamilton – after apparently firing a bullet through his jaw – allowed Cantillo to hide the gun.

The revolver, found to be empty except for one spent round, was traced by police to the roof of a garage adjacent to the rooming house.

After spending some time in the hospital while recovering from his wound, Hamilton was eventually released. Meanwhile, police concluded their investigation of the incident and prepared the criminal charges against him, then asked Municipal Court Judge Norman Doyle Jr. to issue warrants for Hamilton’s apprehension.

Here are other incidents logged by police during the past week:

Aug. 14

Police said Kevin Boutilette, 53, got pulled over by Sgt. Charles Smith at Davis Avenue and Hoyt Street at 7 p.m. after reportedly failing to signal while turning off Schuyler Avenue onto Tappan Street Observing that Boutilette appeared nervous and was sweating heavily, Smith spotted a glassine envelope containing suspected heroin and packaged with the label, “Headbanger,” in the car. Boutilette was charged with possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia and was ticketed for operating a vehicle while in possession of drugs and making an unsafe turn.

At 2:30 a.m. Officer Christian Medina responded to a report of an armed robbery. Police said the victim told Medina that he’d just gotten off work and he stopped at the Dunkin’ Donuts on Kearny Avenue before heading home along Maple Street when a man with a black handgun took $100 from him and fled west on Halstead Avenue Searching the area near the donut shop, Medina and Officer Ben Wuelfing spotted a man on a bicycle who was later identified by the victim as the suspected robber. The man, Adrian Bell, 22, of Harrison, was arrested on a robbery charge and held for an appearance in Hudson County Central Judicial Processing Court in Jersey City. No weapon or cash were recovered, police said.

At 1:15 a.m. Officer Ben Wuelfing spotted a vehicle with its trunk open parked in the public lot between Devon Terrace and Hoyt Street and investigated, finding a man sleeping in the driver’s seat and a woman asleep in the back seat. After determining that the woman – Mary Ackerson, 27, of Kearny – was wanted on a warrant charging her with an Aug. 5 assault in an Alexander Avenue residence, Wuelfing placed her under arrest. Ackerson was held pending setting of bail. The man was released.

Aug. 13

After witnessing a suspected drug transaction outside a Kearny Avenue apartment building near Woodland Avenue at 8:45 p.m., detectives followed the alleged buyer to Davis Avenue where they arrested Geraldo Peralta, 32, of Kearny, on charges of possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia after finding four plastic bags containing suspected marijuana on him. Returning to the apartment building at 9:50 p.m., they confronted the suspected seller, Lara Alejandra, 28, and got consent to search her apartment where, according to police, they found the following: three large plastic bags of suspected marijuana in a lock box; two large bags containing 99 smaller bags of suspected marijuana; two digital scales; numerous Ziploc plastic bags; a bag with 45 Baclofen pills (a prescription muscle relaxer); and $234 in suspected drug sale proceeds. Alejandra was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of drugs with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school and within 500 feet of a park and possession of a prescription legend drug. Bail was set at $3,500 with 10 percent cash option.

At 5 p.m. police arrested Michael Ortiz, 27, of Kearny, at Highland and Woodland Avenues on an outstanding warrant for $1,000 from North Arlington. After Ortiz tried to discard a cigarette pack, police said they found three glassine folds of suspected heroin labeled “Devil’s Tears” in the pack. Ortiz was charged with possession of heroin and paraphernalia.

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