LONG ISLAND MAN INDICTED ON ATTEMPTED MURDER CHARGES FOR RAMMING SUV INTO UNMARKED POLICE CAR THAT NEARLY STRUCK DETECTIVE STANDING OUTSIDE VEHICLE
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced today that Antoine Sheppard, 52, has been indicted by a Queens County grand jury and arraigned in Supreme Court on attempted murder, drug charges and other crimes for allegedly intentionally slamming into a police car and shoving it with so much force that it nearly struck a detective standing outside the vehicle. The incident occurred in late January 2021, when police were attempting to pull over the defendant – a target of a long-term drug investigation – during a traffic stop.
District Attorney Katz said, “Every single day our police officers risk their lives protecting the public. In an attempt to evade police, this defendant allegedly threw his SUV in reverse, then gunned it forward to push the car in front of him out of the way. The detective – doing his job investigating drug trafficking in Queens – could have been killed if the nearly two ton car slammed into him.”
Sheppard, 52, of Hempstead Avenue in West Hempstead, Long Island, was arraigned this morning on a 36-count indictment charging him with attempted murder in the first degree, conspiracy in the second and fourth degree, criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, attempted aggravated assault upon a police officer, attempted assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, reckless endangerment in the first degree, criminal mischief in the second and third and reckless driving. Queens Supreme Court Justice John Zoll set the defendant’s return date for May 11, 2021. Sheppard faces up to 40 years to life in prison if convicted.
Additionally, charged in the indictment are brothers Brian Grant, 56, of Carson Street, and Darion Grant, 51, of 166th Place, both in Jamaica, Queens. The defendants were arraigned on April 6, 2021 before Queens Supreme Court Justice John Zoll on conspiracy in the second and fourth degree, criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree and criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree. Defendant Darion Grant is additionally charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. Justice Zoll set the two men’s return date for May 11, 2021. If convicted Brian and Darion Grant face up to 25 years in prison.
According to the charges, from May and January 2021, law enforcement obtained Court-authorized warrants to eavesdrop on the mobile phones of defendants Brian Grant, Darion Grant and Sheppard. Listening in on calls, surveillance and other investigative tools, law enforcement uncovered a drug dealing network with all three defendants buying and selling heroin and cocaine in and around Jamaica, Laurelton and South Jamaica.
DA Katz said law enforcement observed people buying drugs allegedly from the three defendants. Those buyers were then stopped by police, who confiscated the drugs that were purchased.
In early January 2021, said the DA, police became aware of a major drug delivery that defendant Sheppard was scheduled to make. Investigators followed Sheppard – who was behind the wheel of a Range Rover – and attempted to pull him over at 131st Avenue and 235th Street in Laurelton, Queens. The police in multiple vehicles boxed in the Range Rover. That’s when Sheppard allegedly reversed the vehicle and slammed it into the police car behind him. Then, he threw the car back into drive and accelerated to push the car in front of him forward enough to squeeze between the vehicles. The car that was pushed lurched forward nearly hitting a detective, who was standing by the vehicle.
District Attorney Katz said the defendant abandoned the SUV several blocks away, but he was apprehended weeks later in Nassau County.
The investigation was conducted by Detective Brian Ritto, under the supervision of Lieutenant Eric Sonnenberg and under the overall supervision of Deputy Chief Hank Sautner, Commanding Officer, Detective Borough Queens South.
Assistant District Attorney Leann Staines, of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Jonathan R. Sennett, Bureau Chief, Michelle Goldstein, Senior Deputy Bureau Chief, and Mark Katz and Phillip Anderson, Deputy Bureau Chiefs, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations Gerard A. Brave.
**Criminal complaints and indictments are accusations. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.