EXCLUSIVE REPORT : Authorities suspect a Paterson police officer inadvertently fired a shot through the window of a stolen pickup truck, igniting a chase that ended in Bergen County with the arrest of an unarmed man, CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM ‘s Investigative Team has learned.
City police spotted a gray Dodge Durango at Rosa Parks Boulevard and Hamilton Avenue that fit the description of a vehicle used in a holdup earlier that day. At that point, things “got a bit out of hand,” a law enforcement official told CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM .
“I don’t think the guy even had a gun,” the source told CLIFFVIEW PILOT , adding that a single bullet fired through the vehicle — matching that used by city police — was found in a building nearby.
A Paterson officer in a car parked behind the van “let a shot fly” that pierced the vehicle’s windsheild, prompting officers in a car that pulled in front of the Durango to “think they were being shot at,” a law enforcement officer involved in the chase and arrest told CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM .
The SUV sped off onto Route 80. The pursuing officers lost the vehicle briefly, but then caught up on a side street in Hasbrouck Heights. Bergen County Police tracking dogs led officers to Isiah Lawson, 33, of Newark, who was charged with assault with a weapon, among other counts.
However, a thorough search of the vehicle by the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office, along with a cursory check of the route by police, didn’t turn up any weapons. At worst, Lawton may end up charged with possession of a stolen vehicle.
New Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia Valdez is charged with getting to the truth. A grand jury will review the case.
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