2007_03_ingram.jpgThe lawyer for the man who almost ran over a nun and later stabbed a cop with a kitchen knife - only for the cop to be saved by his badge - says his client had a "psychotic episode." That might be the only explanation for Joseph Leonardi's behavior on Thursday. Newsday reports that Leonardi is still under psychiatric observation at Queens Hospital Center. His lawyer, Todd Greenberg, says that Leonardi is "absolutely appalled that he may have hurt someone" and is "very, very relieved" that rookie cop Stuart Ingram wasn't injured.

Greenberg says that the 50-year-old Leonardi went to St. Helen's Church to talk to the priest who had presided over his mother's funeral. Newsday summarizes the police version of events:

Police said Leonardi first tried to remove a wooden name placard posted in front of the church. When neighbors yelled at him to stop, he got into his 1995 Buick and drove it onto the sidewalk, barely missing a nun standing outside the church.

Leonardi got out of his car and ran off, pursued by one man. When responding officers from the 106th Precinct arrived, he lunged at Ingram with the knife, but the blade struck the officer's badge and broke into several pieces.

Apparently Leonardi thought that he was being attacked by thugs! Which makes us wonder: What the nun a thug, too?

Leonardi was charged with a number of offenses, including attempted murder, reckless endangerment, and DWI. He may be arraigned in the hospital if he's still there for observation.

And Newsday also reports that Ingram is considering joining the FDNY. His dad and uncles are FDNY.