IMAGE: LILLO BRANCATO, JR.
David Greene  /  AP file
Lillo Brancato, Jr., in a photo taken before his arrest
updated 12/29/2005 12:35:27 PM ET 2005-12-29T17:35:27

A young “Sopranos” actor accused in the slaying of an off-duty police officer said in a jailhouse interview he’s sorry and didn’t know his alleged burglary accomplice was carrying a gun.

Lillo Brancato Jr., who appeared opposite Robert De Niro in “A Bronx Tale” and more recently was in several episodes of “The Sopranos,” was charged with murder and other counts in the Dec. 10 shooting of Daniel Enchautegui during a gunfight.

He told the New York Post in an interview published Thursday that he wept while reading a newspaper account of Enchautegui’s funeral.

“When I saw the picture of his father, it brought tears to my eyes because he looked like one of those old-fashioned men — kind of like my father,” Brancato said. “I also thought that could have been my father going to my funeral.”

Enchautegui, 28, was shot after he heard Brancato, 29, and another man, Steven Armento, breaking into a basement apartment in the Bronx, authorities said. Before he died, Enchautegui wounded both suspects.

Stealing drugs
Brancato, who acknowledges problems with drugs and alcohol, said he was unaware Armento was carrying a weapon when they left a strip club to break into the apartment and steal prescription drugs. Authorities identified Armento, 48, as the gunman in the slaying.

“If I would have known, I wouldn’t have allowed him in my car,” Brancato said. “Imagine, we get pulled over and I get caught with an armed felon in my car. Since I’ve been in the movies, it would have instantly drawn attention.”

Brancato said he might take the witness stand at trial to tell the jury “how horrible I feel about my stupidity.”

“If I had the chance, I would want to meet his family and look them in the face and tell them how sorry I feel about what happened,” he said.

Brancato was still in his teens when he played De Niro’s son in “A Bronx Tale” in 1993. He appeared on six episodes of “The Sopranos” during the 1999-2000 season as a wannabe mobster who was killed by boss Tony Soprano.

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