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Charges to be dropped against Mattituck school board member

10/16/2015 11:56 AM |

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The charges against longtime Mattituck-Cutchogue Board of Education member Douglas Cooper, who allegedly fired a shotgun at another person during an argument in July, will be dropped in six months so long as Mr. Cooper avoids any other trouble.

At Southold Justice Court Friday, Justice Rudolph Bruer granted Mr. Cooper an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal for his case. Mr. Cooper had been charged with misdemeanor menacing, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon after the July incident.

“If there are no other issues, in six months, the case is dismissed,” said William Goggins, Mr. Cooper’s lawyer. “It saves Mr. Cooper a trial fee, time and aggravation.”

Mr. Cooper, 67, appeared in court in a button-down shirt and a blue blazer. Afterward, he said he was pleased with the decision.

“I think it’s fair,” he said. “I would have preferred a complete dismissal, but it’s fine.”

It was the second adjournment for Mr. Cooper in a gun-related incident.

Mr. Cooper was also granted an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal in 1995 after he allegedly fired a shotgun twice at a car with three teenagers inside of it after an apparent robbery of the cash box in front of his farm stand.

In the most recent incident in July, Mr. Cooper had allegedly fired a shotgun a tenant on his property. At the time, police said it was a dispute was regarding rent.

After the incident, accounts of what happened varied. Mr. Cooper first told The Suffolk Times that he fired the shotgun, but not at somebody, and then he told southoldlocal.com that “no shot was fired.”

Newsday.com then reported Mr. Cooper told them he was shooting into the air to scare a deer. Mr. Cooper later repeated that claim to a Suffolk Times reporter.

Correction: An earlier version of this story attached an incorrect photo. The photo has since been replaced.

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