An off-duty deputy director for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is facing firearms charges after her arrest in Jamaica, Queens on Saturday night. According to a statement from the office of the progressive Democrat mayor’s office, “The employee has been suspended immediately without pay pending investigation. We take these allegations very seriously.” De Blasio is a firm advocate of gun control.

According to police, the 42-year-old Reagan Stevens was found in the back seat of a double-parked car that had a loaded 9-millimeter pistol in the glove compartment. The serial number on the gun had been filed off. A shell casing was also found in the car, a 2002 Infiniti. Because no one claimed the gun, all three persons in the car were arrested. The arrest occurred near the scene of an earlier shooting. There is video of shots fired from the vehicle in which Stevens was sitting.

Stevens had worked as director of Youth and Strategic Initiatives at De Blasio’s Office of Criminal Justice, at a salary of $90,000 per year, where she sought to prevent the trying of 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in criminal proceedings. She herself faced arraignment on Sunday in Queens Criminal Court. Her mother, Deborah Stevens Modica, has served as judge there for over 20 years. In addition, Stevens’ step-father, Salvatore Modica, is an acting Queen Supreme Court justice.

Besides Stevens, Montel Hughes, 24, and Caesar Forbes, 25, were also arrested. Both of them were reportedly sporting knives. They were parked in a spot not far from where an NYPD “ShotSpotter” had detected five gunshots. Hughes and Forbes face charges on firearms and illegal possession of knives. Forbes is the owner of the car.

Stevens stands charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon. Hughes and Forbes are also accused of firearms charges. The NYPD “ShotSpotter” had detected five shots fired. When police examined the pistol where sat Stevens, they found that the eight-shot magazine in it had but three rounds left. ShotSpotter is a system of microphones designed to detect and pinpoint the location of gunfire.

In 2015, Stevens was arrested on suspicion of driving illegally. Companion Hughes has prior arrests that include robbery, weapons, trespassing and harassment charges.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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