RNJ News Department

74-year-old man charged with attempted murder after shooting at cops

READINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (Hunterdon County) – A 74-year-old Mountainside, NJ man has been arrested after firing a weapon at a two Readington Township police officer on Tuesday night, according to Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns, III, Chief of Detectives John J. Kuczynski and Readington Township Police Chief Sebastian Donaruma.

Rafael Garcia was arrested and charged with two counts of first degree attempted murder and second degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, Kearns said.

Two Readington Township police officers observed a vehicle parked on the eastbound shoulder of Route 22 in Whitehouse Station at approximately 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday night, Kearns said.

While investigating the abandoned vehicle the officers observed a man in a nearby field. The man was instructed to come out of the field at which time the he fired multiple shots at the officers, Kearns said.

The officers were able to successfully place the suspect in custody without returning fire. A thorough search of the area was conducted and it was determined there were no other persons involved and no threat to the public, Kearns said.

Bail for the defendant was set at $1,000,000 and was lodged in the Somerset County Jail awaiting his first court appearance.

According to Prosecutor Kearns, “We are grateful that our officers were uninjured. I commend their quick and steady response to the threat which enabled them to bring the suspect into custody without further incident. The officers were cognizant of the risks to the public and were able to apprehend the suspect without placing passing motorists in harms way. This is an ardent reminder of the risks and dangers our officers face every day as they continue to keep all of us safe.”

Prosecutor Kearns added, “I commend the rapid response of the New Jersey State Police Aviation Bureau, High Bridge Police Department, Clinton Township Police Department, Franklin Township Police Department, Town of Clinton Police Department, Branchburg Police Department, Warren Township K9 Unit, Bound Brook K9 Unit, and the Hunterdon County SWAT.”

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By: Jay Edwards
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