Orange - The Attorney General’s
Shooting Response Team is conducting an
investigation into the circumstances surrounding
a shooting incident that occurred in East
Orange, Essex County, at approximately
1:00 p.m. on Sat., May 21, 2005.
According to the preliminary investigation,
E. Orange Police Officers received a report
of a stolen 2004 blue Suburu in the early
morning hours of Sat., May 21. At approximately
4:40 a.m., an E. Orange Sgt. located the
stolen vehicle at Central and S. Clinton
Avenue in E. Orange. The suspect driver
of the stolen vehicle pointed what appeared
to be a handgun at the E. Orange Sgt.
The vehicle fled the area. The stolen
vehicle was next sighted at approximately
10:20 a.m. by an off-duty E. Orange Police
Officer in the vicinity of Halstead and
Rhode Island Avenues, E. Orange. The off-duty
officer contacted E. Orange dispatch and
reported the location of the stolen vehicle.
The stolen vehicle again fled. The stolen
vehicle was next sighted shortly before
1:00 p.m. in E. Orange. The stolen vehicle
fled, with E. Orange police officers in
pursuit. The suspect driver of the stolen
vehicle drove through various local streets,
entering the Garden State Parkway. The
stolen vehicle was pursued from the Parkway
to I-280, into Newark, and back to E.
Orange. East Orange police broadcast an
alert to all area police, including the
State Police Emergency Network (SPEN).
The driver of the stolen vehicle led pursuing
E. Orange police officers, now assisted
by state troopers, onto Central Avenue
and then onto Sanford Avenue in downtown
E. Orange. At this point, it is reported
that the stolen vehicle crashed into a
fence, backed-up, and then accelerated
toward the police officers who had exited
their vehicles and were ordering the driver
out of the stolen vehicle. The driver
of the stolen vehicle ignored police orders.
The officers fired at the suspect. The
stolen vehicle then crashed into the front
porch of a residence located at 64 Sanford.
The driver of the stolen vehicle was wounded,
placed under arrest, and taken to University
Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening
wounds. The identification of the driver
of the stolen vehicle remains pending.
The Attorney General’s Shooting
Response Team and the E. Orange Police
Department, in conjunction with the Essex
County Prosecutor’s Office, will
be filing criminal charges. The E. Orange
officers and the New Jersey State Troopers
were also treated and released from University
The Attorney General’s Shooting
Response Team has identified the responding
E. Orange police officers as Sgt. Keith
Benson and Officer Larry Flanagan. The
State Troopers are identified as Trooper
Matthew Bergen and Trooper Christopher
The incident remains under investigation
by the Attorney General’s Shooting
Response Team comprised of the New Jersey
State Police Major Crimes Unit and the
Division of Criminal Justice. Under an
Attorney General directive, the Attorney
General’s Shooting Response Team,
made up of Deputy Attorney’s General
and state investigators from the Division
of Criminal Justice and detectives
from the State Police Major Crime Unit,
are dispatched to the scene of a police
shooting to conduct the investigation.
The E. Orange Police Department is participating
in the ongoing investigation.