Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray announced yesterday that charges had been filed against Rasul Burt, a 30-year old East Orange man, who is alleged to have opened fire on an off-duty Essex County Sheriff’s Officer outside of the Mercedes & Minks Cocktail Lounge in Newark just before 2am.
Burt and another man were purportedly involved in a verbal altercation with the 25-year old officer, when Burt drew a handgun and began firing. He struck the officer in the upper left side of his chest. The officer apparently returned fire, striking Burt and another man. Authorities say the victim, a former Newark police officer who was laid off in 2010, was lucky to be alive.
No motive has yet been determined. A spokesperson for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office did comment that the victim was permitted to be armed, even though he was off-duty and at an establishment that served alcohol, but declined to comment on whether the victim’s blood alcohol was tested or relevant to the investigation.
Burt has been charged with Attempted Murder, two counts of Aggravated Assault, andWeapons offenses. If convicted, he could face upwards of 20 years in New Jersey State Prison, with 85% to be served before the benefit of parole as per the No Early Release Act (“NERA”) for violent offenders.
For more information, see the Star Ledger article entitled, “East Orange man charged with attempted murder in shooting of Essex sheriff’s officer.”