Officer fires shot at armed parolee

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A drug enforcement officer opened fire on a Wading River man being questioned about missing a parole meeting after the man pointed a handgun first at himself and then at officers there to question him on a missed parole meeting, authorities said.

Thomas Michael Counihan, 60, of Wading River-Manor Road, Wading River, was not hit by the single shot fired at him in his home Tuesday night, officials said, but fell to the ground and was successfully taken into custody.

"It is clear the police officer's discharge of his weapon, given the circumstances was justified," said Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota in a statement. "We are relieved that the two East End Drug Task Force officers were not injured during the standoff with this dangerous, violent felon."

Counihan was taken to the psychiatric unit of Stony Brook University Medical Center, according to Bob Clifford, a spokesman for Spota.

Drug task force members had gone to Counihan's home Tuesday night to discuss his missed meeting when he admitted to them that he had marijuana, Clifford said. But in addition to the marijuana, the officers uncovered other illegal items, including 250 packets of heroin, about two ounces of cocaine, and unlabeled prescription bottles containing pills, officials said.

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Before Counihan could be taken into custody, he displayed a loaded Colt. 45, officials said, and pointed it first at his own head and chest, before pointing it at the officers.

Counihan's criminal history includes four felony convictions. He will be arraigned on new charges of criminal possession of a loaded handgun, possession of heroin, cocaine and marijuana, at a later date, officials said.

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