Nassau County Marine Bureau units responded to a call for a man with a rifle aboard a 21-foot Steiger boat about 8 a.m.
According to police, John Mirabito, 59, of Starlight Lane, Shirley, was operating the boat when it collided with another 21-foot Steiger boat. The collision damaged the victim's boat and a verbal argument ensued. Both men were clamming at the time, police said.
Mirabito went into his cabin and pulled out a rifle, pointed it at the victim and a male passenger. The victim gunned his engines and fled.
Nassau County's Marine 20 responded to the defendant's boat but, believing the operator was armed, called for backup from U.S. Coast Guard. Law Enforcement sources told Patch that the Coast Guard initially declined Nassau's call for help. Eventually, a Coast Guard vessel was dispatched to the scene, authorities said.
At the first call for backup, Bay Constables from both Oyster Bay and North Hempstead responded to the scene. Although they are permitted by state law to carry firearms, Oyster Bay Constables are not allowed by the town to carry them. North Hempstead constables have sidearms, but those are insufficient against a determined shooter with a rifle, law enforcement officials told Patch.
Surrounded by authorities, Mirabito allowed Nassau Marine officers to take him into custody without further incident, authorities said.
The rifle was recovered in the cabin.
Mirabito is being charged with two counts of menacing and will be arraigned on Tuesday in First District Court, Hempstead.
and outright brawls between rival clammers,have been reported over the
years on Long Island's fertile shell fish beds. The clammers stake out
their turf through leases and marked by floats and similar markings and
to defend their turf.
However, the incident is likely to
reignite a town-wide debate over how Bay Constables can respond to
emergencies and make arrests without sufficient firearms. That debate
has gone on in Oyster Bay for nearly two decades, law enforcement
sources told Patch.