LINDEN — A Linden man has been convicted of a gun charge following a trial that ended earlier this week, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Thursday.
A Union County jury on Monday found Daniel Scaldini, 52, guilty of second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon.
The date was June 16, 2012 when police received a 9-1-1 call indicating that a man wearing a black vest had fired a gun on the 100 block of East Blancke Street in Linden, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Jeremiah Lenihan, who prosecuted the case. Patrol units that were already in the area at the time arrived there within a minute.
Responding officers immediately spotted a person matching the description given in the 9-1-1 call and ordered him to stop and show his hands; instead, the man, who later was identified as Scaldini, quickly started walking away with his hand in his pocket, Lenihan said. Fearing he was armed, the officers arrested him and recovered a loaded, .32-caliber, semi-automatic handgun from his pocket.
Scaldini later testified at trial that he and his girlfriend, who he described as “cat lovers,” got into an argument on the night in question after he stepped on the tail of one of their seven cats. Scaldini said he went outside to cool off when another one of the couple’s cats ran out of their basement and across the street.
Scaldini testified that one of two juveniles running down the street at the time then threw an object in the cat’s direction, and when he went to retrieve it, he realized it was a handgun. Moments later, Scaldini said he accidentally fired the gun in the air, causing him to become disoriented because the weapon went off directly next to his ear, and he was prevented from returning home because police arrived at the scene “one second later.”
Scaldini is scheduled to be sentenced before state Superior Court Judge Regina Caulfield on Jan. 3, 2014. Second-degree crimes typically carry penalties of 5 to 10 years in state prison.
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