Paterson Police Arrest Suspect with Loaded Handgun After Breaking up a Crowded Park Gathering

According to Paterson Police Director, Jerry Speziale, officers broke up a large group of people who were gathering at the Wrigley Park on Montgomery Street amid the coronavirus crisis on Thursday evening. Police observed the group at the park at around 7:00pm, but city officials ordered all parks and gatherings to close. When detectives approached the crowd, 30 year-old Antoine Harris attempted to walk away. He also allegedly attempted to discard a loaded 9mm handgun. After a brief struggle, police were able to place him in handcuffs. He was arrested and charged with obstructing a governmental function and weapons offenses. He is being held at the Passaic County Jail pending a court hearing. Click here to read more at

The state of New Jersey takes weapons cases very seriously and the penalties can be severe. For example, if you are charged with unlawful possession of a weapon (which includes machine guns, rifles, handguns, etc.), under 2C:39-5, you may face the following penalties:

A crime of the second degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment of between 5 and 10 years in New Jersey State Prison.

A crime of the third degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 5 years in New Jersey State Prison.

A crime of the fourth degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison.

There are subsections (a), (b), and (c) of the statute which are subject to sentencing under the Graves Act, meaning that an individual convicted of such an offense must be sentenced to a term of imprisonment with a minimum term of parole ineligibility fixed at, or between, one-third to one-half of a sentence imposed, or 3 years, whichever is greater.

If you or a loved one is charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately, especially given the potential prison time (and Graves Act). Former Morris County Prosecutor, Alissa D. Hascup is skilled and experienced at representing countless individuals charged with the entire range of weapons offenses. She has successfully defended individuals in towns like Paterson, Passaic, and Wayne. She is committed to ensuring your rights are protected in court. Contact her office for a free consultation about your case. She is available 24/7 at 862-257-1200.