State Trooper Shot Drug Suspect Who Authorities Say Hit Him With Lexus
Friday, September 21, 2012 • 11:46am
PATERSON, NJ – A State Police detective shot a drug suspect in the chest Thursday night when authorities say the man tried to run him over during a narcotics arrest at a 1st Ward shopping mall, the Attorney General’s Office announced.
The wounded suspect, 26-year-old Ariel Acosta of Paterson, was treated at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center and released to police custody, authorities said. The officer, whose name has not been released, is in stable condition from injuries he suffered when he was pinned between two vehicles during the incident, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
The circumstances of the shooting are under investigation by the Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team, officials said. There were no Paterson police officers involved in the shooting, officials said.
A press release issued by the Attorney General’s office Friday morning said the state trooper and other members of the State Police Drug Trafficking North were conducting a narcotics investigation in the parking lot of the mall at the corner of Chamberlain Avenue and West Broadway at about 8:15 pm when they witnessed a drug sale.
The state police detectives then left their unmarked vehicles to arrest the men allegedly involved in the transaction, all of whom were seated in or standing near a black Lexus, the press release said. As the troopers identified themselves, Acosta, who was seated in the driver’s seat, accelerated his vehicle toward a detective, authorities said.
The detective then fired a single shot striking Acosta in the upper left chest area, and was simultaneously pinned between an unmarked police vehicle and the Lexus, according to the press release. The detective was struck in the right leg by Acosta’s vehicle, authorities said.
ABout eight or nine state troopers were involved in the drug stakeout, according to the Attorney General's Office.
The Attorney General’s Office said two other Paterson men - 30-year-old Yoel Sanchez and an armed 17-year-old male - were arrested without incident at the scene. The juvenile was found in possession of a loaded 22 caliber Ruger handgun, according to the press release. Members of the Shooting Response Team are in the process of obtaining a search warrant in order to search the suspect vehicle.
Since April, an undisclosed number of State Police officers have been deployed in Paterson to help local law enforcement officials combat the city’s chronic crime problem. City authorities have credited the State Police presence with helping curtail crime at some Paterson hot spots. But it was not clear whether the detectives conducting the drug investigation Thursday night were part of that deployment.
Acosta, Sanchez, and the juvenile were each charged with possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, possession of narcotics with the intent, conspiracy to possess and distribute drugs, and unlawful possession of a handgun, the press release said. In addition, Acosta was charged with attempted murder, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose (the vehicle).
Authorities said the drug deal involved an exchange of eight ounces of MDMA, a pwder used to make Ecstasy and Oxycodone. The suspects also were charged with possession of marijuana and crack, according to the Attorney General's Office.
A Passaic County Superior Court Judge will set bail this morning, the press release said. Acosta and Sanchez are currently being held at the Passaic County Jail, while the 17-year-oldjuvenile is at the Essex County Youth Correctional Facility.