AREA — The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General is actively investigating the death of an alleged car thief who was shot during an altercation with Cranford Police late last week.
According to official reports, two officers from the Cranford Police Department were pursuing a stolen vehicle down the southbound side of the Garden State Parkway at approximately 12:04 a.m. on December 29, when the vehicle crashed near a Woodbridge exit ramp.
‘After the crash, the driver of the vehicle and two officers exchanged gunfire,’ representatives from the state’s Office of the Attorney General said. ‘The driver was pronounced deceased at the scene. A firearm was recovered near the driver.’
According to information shared by the Cranford Police Department, two officers, including one who suffered a minor gunshot wound, were taken to University Hospital in Newark, where they were treated for their injuries and subsequently released.
Neither the name of the driver nor those of the officers who were involved in the incident have yet been released. It is unknown at this time whether any charges have been filed.
State law requires the Attorney General’s Office to conduct investigations of a person’s death that occurs, ‘during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody.’
All such investigations must be presented to a grand jury to determine if the evidence supports the return of an indictment against the officer or officers involved.
‘We are deeply grateful for all our Cranford police officers do to serve and protect our community every day, which unfortunately includes putting themselves at risk,’ Cranford Police Chief Ryan Greco said via social media. ‘We thank the community for the outpouring of thoughts and prayers with respect to our injured officers. Both are home recovering.’
Governor Phil Murphy shared similar sentiments with regards to the incident, noting, ‘our men and women in uniform put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe. We are praying for the officer’s swift recovery.’