Former NJ resident pardoned for gun crimes here indicted in Colorado shooting


A former New Jersey resident who rose to prominence in the gun rights community after being acquitted of weapons charges and pardoned by the then governor. Chris Christie faces criminal charges in a shootout in Colorado, according to authorities and his lawyer here.

Brian D. Aitkin, 38, was charged with attempted murder Friday morning over a shooting at his home in Telluride, a Colorado resort, according to the Colorado Sheriff’s Office involved in the case and Evan Nappen, the New Jersey attorney who represented Aitkin upon his arrest in 2009.

Nappen said it was a case of self-defense.

A media summary of Friday’s charges in Colorado provided by the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office indicated that Aitken was arrested at 9:11 a.m. at his home in the famous Rocky Mountain ski resort.

Aitken’s lawyer in New Jersey said in a brief telephone interview on Sunday that his client was not in custody. “It was self-defense with a gun and his attacker was shot in the leg,” Nappen said.

Nappen said the incident involved a man doing some sort of work for Aitken on his property. The lawyer said he could not give details of the incident.

“After this incident Brian was the one who called the police,” Nappen said.

A dispatcher from the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office referred an investigation to the Telluride Marshal Department – a local law enforcement agency. Telluride Chief Marshal Josh Comte did not immediately respond to messages on Sunday.

Neither Aitken nor his family members in New Jersey could be reached.

Aitken runs a business known as the Topple Ad Network (“Reaching the Unreachable” is the tagline on Aitken’s LinkedIn page).

Aitken made headlines in 2009 after being arrested by police in Mount Laurel who found a high capacity gun and magazine in his car, as well as a supply of hollow point bullets. It was Aitkin’s mother, a Mount Laurel resident, who called the police because she feared her son was suicidal due to a custody battle with the mother of his children.

Nappen said Aitken obtained the gun, magazine and ammunition legally, and that the gun was unloaded and properly secured after Aitken sought advice from the New Jersey State Police on how to transport them to New Jersey – where he was moving to Hoboken from Colorado.

Although Aitken was found guilty by the State Superior Court on three separate charges in 2010 and sentenced to seven years in prison, two of the charges were overturned on appeal in 2012. And after that Christie had previously commuted Aitkin’s sentence to four months of time served in 2010, the Republican governor then granted Aitkin full pardon for the ammunition offense after a state appeal decision to quash the charges. two other convictions.

The case caught the nation’s attention, and Aitkins was touted by gun rights advocates as a living symbol of the government’s overly intrusive gun regulations in violation of the Second Amendment. He wrote a book, The Blue Tent Sky: how the left’s war on guns cost me my son and my freedom, and became a familiar figure in gun rights forums, speaking out against what he called government excess and “the liberal media.”

In a 2018 appearance at the RTSP shooting range in Randolph, Bergen County, Aitken, then living in Pennsylvania, said his arrest at the age of 27 affected him emotionally.

“It took me several years to reconcile everything that happened,” Aitken told NJ Advance Media at the time. “It has become very difficult to relate to people. Much of that innocence you had at that age was gone for me.

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Steve Strunsky can be reached at [email protected]


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