A Saugerties man fired a shotgun, threatened to kill his girlfriend and her three children and ran into the woods to hide when he learned the police had been called Monday night, the Saugerties Police Department said.
The sequence of events also led detectives to discover a marijuana-growing operation, which suspect Elijah Gray and his girlfriend maintained in a room next to the children's bedroom, cops said.
It all started when cops got a 911 call about shots fired a few minutes before 9 p.m. Monday. Officers who arrived at the Skyline Drive Apartments found a small crowd outside the complex, "most of whom refused to cooperate with the police officers," Saugerties Police Chief Joseph Sinagra wrote in a statement.
Cops said they eventually found the person who placed the 911 call, who pointed them toward Gray, a 46-year-old with addresses at the Skyline Drive Apartments as well as "several other addresses in the Bronx" and a Kingston address.
The witness told police Gray was brandishing the shotgun inside an apartment he shared with his girlfriend when he threatened to shoot her and her three children, ages 7, 8 and 13, cops said. Gray's girlfriend picked up a knife to defend herself when Gray fired a shot toward the floor. No one was home inside the apartment below Gray's, and no one was injured by the shot, police said.
When Gray realized someone had called the police, he bolted to a nearby wooded area. State troopers, Ulster County sheriff's deputies, firefighters and Saugerties cops pooled their manpower for "an extensive search of the wooded area adjacent to the apartment complex," cops said.
They found a mound of dirt where they say Gray allegedly buried the shotgun, along with about 300 envelopes of heroin and other drugs. They caught up with Gray a short time later.
Saugerties detectives obtained a search warrant for Gray's apartment and said they found more drugs, plus a marijuana-growing room next to the children's bedroom.
Gray was charged with first-degree reckless endangerment and third-degree criminal weapons possession, both felonies, as well as a violation for maintaining an indoor marijuana-growing operation. He was arraigned in Town of Saugerties Court and sent to Ulster County Jail on $25,000 bail. It wasn't clear whether Gray had retained an attorney.
Cops also charged Gray's girlfriend with maintaining a drug-growing operation, a violation of state public health law. She was arraigned and sent to Ulster County Jail on $5,000 bail.
Saugerties police said they placed the three children in the care of relatives and contacted Child Protective Services, which will launch its own investigation.