Sunday, March 23, 2014
New Jersey Men Charged in Accidental Shooting Death of Their Friend
Nicholas Questel, Byron Sankar and Aaron McMorris appear in court last week to answer charges related to the accidental shooting death of Alex Bridge in New Milford on Aug. 3.
Local news reports
Three men were indicted Friday on charges stemming from an apparently accidental shooting that claimed the life of a young New Milford man last summer.
A Bergen County grand jury returned a 12-count indictment that leveled the most serious charge — aggravated manslaughter — against the alleged owner of the gun, Byron Sankar, 21, of East Orange.
The victim, Alex Bridge, 22, was shot once in the abdomen about 1 a.m. on Aug. 3, 2013, in the parking lot of the Milford Estates apartments. He was later pronounced dead at Holy Name Medical Center. Bridge had been drinking beer and perhaps smoking marijuana behind the complex with Sankar, his wife, who was not charged, and Aaron McMorris, 23, of Hackensack, authorities said.
As the group was talking, Sankar produced a 9mm handgun, which discharged when he allegedly handled it in a “reckless manner,” authorities said.
In addition to aggravated manslaughter, Sankar was charged with endangering an injured victim by fleeing the scene when he knew Bridge was unable to care for himself, unlawful possession of a weapon, aggravated assault, hindering prosecution by disposing of the gun, giving false information to a law enforcement officer and attempting to falsely implicate McMorris in the crime. He was also charged with unlawful possession of a handgun in East Orange in the months leading up to the fatal incident.
He remains in the Bergen County Jail in lieu of $450,000 bond.
McMorris, who has prior arrests for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor and marijuana possession and distribution, is free on $75,000 bond. He was charged in two counts of the indictment with hindering apprehension and falsely implicating another person. The third defendant, Nicholas Questel, 22, of Orange, a construction worker, who was not present during the shooting, was charged in the indictment with possession of the 9mm handgun without a permit between May and June of last year.
Authorities allege he illegally sold the gun to Sankar for $350 earlier that summer. He was also charged with possession of a weapon by a convicted felon stemming from a conviction on federal charges for importing narcotics.