Woodbridge NJ police officers cleared in Sansone Auto Mall shooting – My Central Jersey

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Two Woodbridge police officers have been cleared of criminal charges in the non-fatal shooting of a Newark man who attempted to run them over at Sansone Auto Mall last year.

A Middlesex County grand jury voted Officers Jeian Rastegarpanah and Vincent Pardee were justified in the June 2023 shooting of Juan Martinez, 40, who suffered non-life-threatening injuries, was treated at a local hospital for several days and charged with burglary upon his release.

The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office investigation included interviews of witnesses, photographs, surveillance camera footage, bodycam footage, physical evidence collected by its Crime Scene Unit, and ballistics evidence that was examined by the State Police’s Firearms Unit.

In the early morning hours on June 27, 2023, Woodbridge police received a report that a Dodge Ram parked at Sansone Auto Mall on Route 1 had “suffered an impact.” The 911 call was made by the owner of the vehicle, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Officers Rastegarpanah and Pardee responded to the dealership which was closed, arriving around 2:24 a.m., and approached the Dodge on foot. Through the vehicle’s fogged windows, they saw a person inside, later identified as Martinez. They ordered Martinez to exit the vehicle, but he didn’t comply, the prosecutor’s office said.

More:Woodbridge police captain alleges age discrimination after being bypassed for promotion

A black SUV then entered the dealership parking lot and drove toward the officers at a high speed. The SUV also made several turns and was driving in an erratic manner before coming to a stop next to the Dodge Ram at which point Martinez exited the vehicle and jumped into the SUV which began moving again, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Rastegarpanah and Pardee both discharged their service weapons in the direction of the black SUV. Martinez was struck three times as he exited the Dodge Ram and entered the rear of the black SUV, which fled from the scene, the prosecutor’s office said.

In their formal statements, both officers said they feared for their lives.

The prosecutor’s office previously reported Martinez walked into a local hospital and admitted his role in a vehicle burglary.

The driver of the SUV, Alex Martinez, was charged with conspiracy to commit burglary and hindering apprehension, and remains at large, the prosecutor’s office said.

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Suzanne Russell is a breaking news reporter for MyCentralJersey.com covering crime, courts and other mayhem. To get unlimited access, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

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