A retired Suffolk County policeman was charged with felony assault two weeks ago, accused of wrestling a shotgun from a hunter in Mattituck who had just shot and killed the former cop’s dog and striking the man on the head with it, sending the 63-year-old upstate resident to the hospital.
Jon Ferris, 49, of Mattituck, entered a plea of not guilty to second-degree assault in Southold Justice Court on Jan. 27. He was released in his own custody and is scheduled to return to court Feb. 25.
Called to the scene by Mr. Ferris, police found the hunter, Daniel Lamphere of Rensselaer, N.Y., on the ground with a head injury. The Mattituck Fire Department rescue squad brought Mr. Lamphere to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment. Police said Mr. Lamphere’s wound required 11 staples to close.
Mr. Ferris had been walking his three dogs unleashed when one reportedly approached Mr. Lamphere, who was deer hunting with a friend on parkland south of the Farmveu neighborhood, according to police.
Mr. Lamphere told investigators that the dog, a German shepherd, attacked him and he shot and killed it.
Mr. Ferris, who is licensed to carry a handgun, drew his weapon and approached Mr. Lamphere, pointing the gun at him, according to police. There was an altercation, during which Mr. Ferris took the shotgun from Mr. Lamphere and hit him on the head with the stock butt, police said.
Mr. Lamphere, in a phone interview, said three dogs had approached him in the field just before 9 a.m. that morning. He managed to shoo away two but the German shepherd “came at me full blast with his teeth showing and I fired from the hip,” he said.
He claimed that Mr. Ferris, after approaching with his pistol aimed at him, kicked him and hit him with the butt of his shotgun multiple times.
“I was struck seven or eight times,” he said. “It was a nightmare.”
Mr. Lamphere said he’d had a heart attack in August followed by quadruple bypass surgery. His hunting partner, George Duell of East Berne, N.Y., who had hunted in Mattituck before, had suggested he accompany him to Long Island as a respite from cabin fever.
“I was just trying to go hunting and enjoy myself,” he said. “But you won’t see me down there anymore.”
No charges have been filed against Mr. Lamphere, who said he had permission to hunt in that area. Southold Police took both weapons as evidence.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation is conducting its own investigation.