NYPD cop ‘who shot and injured his wife’s personal trainer when he found them alone outside home in the middle of the night’ is indicted on assault charge
Sgt. Justin Ellis, 35, pleads not guilty to felony count of second-degree assault after being indicted and surrendering to police
Patrick Catania, the 30-year-old trainer whom Ellis allegedly shot in October 2019, also turned himself in and was arraigned on multiple counts
Indictment alleges Ellis, who was off duty on October 25, 2019, shot Catania in the chest after the man allegedly tried to attack him with a bat
Prior to the shooting, Ellis returned home and found Catania talking to his wife outside their home in Long Island
Catania’s attorney said his client had recently gotten involved romantically with Ellis’ wife, and had previously been in contentious encounters with Ellis
The sergeant’s wife allegedly, planned to leave him
Ellis had objected to his wife’s relationship with Catania and previously threatened Catania, according to his attorney
An off-duty New York police sergeant has turned himself in after being indicted on an assault charge for allegedly shooting and injuring his wife’s personal trainer when he found the two of them talking outside the couple’s home at night.
His wife didn’t expect him, thinking that he was working a night shift, a source with knowledge of the case said.
Sgt. Justin Ellis, 35, on Wednesday was arraigned in Nassau County District Court on a felony count of second-degree assault stemming from his October 2019 armed confrontation with fitness instructor Patrick Catania.
The NYPD officer was released on his own recognizance pending his next court date scheduled for January 7.
If convicted as charged, he could face up to seven years in prison.
The trainer, Patrick Catania was indicted on attempted assault and other counts for allegedly trying to hit Ellis with a bat outside the officer’s home
Catania, 30, was arraigned Wednesday on charges of attempted assault, criminal possession of a weapon, menacing and criminal trespass for allegedly threatening Ellis with a baseball bat.
Catania is due back in court on January 8, and if convicted of the top charge against him, he faces up to four years in prison.
According to a statement from the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office in the early hours of October 25, 2019, Catania was allegedly trespassing on the grounds of Ellis’ home on Stirrup Path in Seaford, which the NYPD sergeant shares with his wife and children.
Ellis allegedly came home just after midnight to find the 29-year-old personal trainer outside, according to police and sources.
“He told the guy to get out of his house,” a police source said.
“They had some words. The guy went to his car and got a bat. And he shot him.”
Ellis and Catania got into an argument and, according to an indictment, the personal trainer grabbed a baseball bat and attempted to strike the off-duty police sergeant, who then shot at Catania twice, striking him once in the chest.
Catania survived and was treated for his injury at a nearby hospital.
Both men turned themselves in at the Nassau County Police Department on Wednesday morning and pled not guilty to their respective charges.
Ellis’ defense attorney, Andrew Quinn, told Newsday the shooting was justified.
‘We believe that his use of his weapon was justified given the circumstances,’ the lawyer stated.
The Nassau district attorney’s office alleged Wednesday that Catania was trespassing on the grounds of the home Ellis shared with his wife and children.
Ellis came home and encountered Catania — a man he knew — nearby, according to prosecutors.
The two men argued and Catania retrieved a baseball bat and tried to assault Ellis, the district attorney’s office said.
Ellis allegedly shot at Catania twice, hitting him once and causing a chest injury, according to prosecutors. They said both men called 911.
Catania’s attorney, Jason Russo, said in an interview that his client formed a friendship with Ellis’ wife “which blossomed to more” and “started to become a romantic relationship” after the two met when she took some of his classes.
But the sergeant, whose wife planned to leave him, had objected to her relationship with Catania and previously threatened Catania, according to Russo.
Russo also claimed that it was Ellis who accosted Catania after following him. His client had been speaking to Ellis’ wife on the front steps of the married couple’s home when the sergeant came home.
That prompted the wife to go back inside and Catania to start walking
toward his car — with the sergeant following behind him, Russo said.
His client acted in self-defense by retrieving a bat from his car and holding it up after Ellis followed him down the street while “telling him he was going to kill him,” Russo said
The off duty cop was about 20 feet behind trainer when Catania held up the bat and said “stay away from me,” before Ellis shot Catania in the chest, Russo said.
Ellis’ attorney, Andrew Quinn, said in an interview Wednesday that the off-duty police official was within his rights to open fire during the early-morning encounter.
“We believe that his use of his weapon was justified given the circumstances,” Quinn said.
Quinn wouldn’t comment further on the encounter or on the nature of the relationship between the involved parties.
Both men pled not guilty at their arraignments on Wednesday and were released on their own recognizance after they given different January court dates.
The NYPD confirmed that Ellis has been suspended without pay. He has been on the force since 2007, most recently serving in the 101st Precinct in Queens.
Public records indicate that over the course of his career in law enforcement, Ellis has racked up eight complaints encompassing 24 allegations of misconduct, five of which have been substantiated.
The City of New York has settled two separate lawsuits involving Ellis for a total of $200,000, according to CapStat.nyc, which is a database that includes information on complaints and lawsuits involving NYPD officers.
In one case, a 55-year-old black man accused Ellis and five other officers of punching him in the face without provocation during an arrest in 2011, leaving the man with a fractured jaw and other injuries that required two surgeries.