A Paterson NJ police officer was recently indicted by a Passaic County grand jury on aggravated assault charges stemming from an incident when the officer was off duty.
According to prosecutors, the suspect discharged a firearm while walking on a Paterson street around 1:20 a.m. on February 25, 2016. At the time of the incident, the suspect was off duty from his job as a Paterson police officer and was in the vicinity of a 7-Eleven store located on Main Street.
Bullet fragments from the discharged firearm reportedly grazed two people who were also on the street. The victims, a 37-year-old Paterson man and a 35-year-old Wanaque man, were later treated for their wounds at a local hospital.
The facts of the case are problematic for the suspect: he failed to report the shooting immediately after it happened. Moreover, the suspect s superiors at the Paterson Police Department were not made aware of the shooting incident until several hours had passed.
The suspect was eventually placed under arrest one week after the shooting. This has prompted criticism from some observers who want to know why authorities waited so long to bring charges against the suspect.
Now the suspect could be headed to trial in Passaic County Superior Court after a Passaic County grand jury indicted him on numerous criminal charges, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and terroristic threats.
If the suspect is ultimately convicted on the very serious charges, he could be sentenced to more than a decade behind bars.
For more information about this case, read the NJ.com article, “North Jersey Cop Indicted in Off-Duty Shooting.”