MONTVILLE TOWNSHIP, NJ (Morris County) – A state grand jury has voted not to file criminal charges at the conclusion of its deliberations regarding the death of James Allandale, formerly known as James Allan, 61, of Denville township in a police-involved shooting at a motel in the Pine Brook section of Montville Township on Dec. 31, 2022.
The death was investigated by the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) and presented to New Jersey residents on the state grand jury in accordance with the Independent Prosecutor Directive of 2019 (the “Directive”).
In July 2021, OPIA issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure these grand jury presentations are conducted in a neutral, objective manner, with appropriate transparency regarding the process, consistent with the Directive.
The investigation included witness interviews, photographs, review of body-worn camera footage, and autopsy results from the medical examiner. This evidence was presented to a state grand jury.
After hearing the testimony and evidence, the grand jury concluded its deliberations Monday, Oct. 30, 2023, and voted “no bill,” meaning the grand jury decided no criminal charges should be filed against Sgt. Fred Jackson of the Denville Police Department and Morristown Police Sgt. James Krauss, who are members of the Morris County Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (“SERT”).
According to the investigation, on Dec. 31, 2022, members of the Morris County SERT were at the motel to assist Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office detectives with arresting Allandale on a warrant charging him with attempted murder and other related charges stemming from an incident on Dec. 27, 2022, in Elmwood Park Borough.
When SERT members arrived at the motel, they unsuccessfully attempted to unlock Allandale’s room door using a key card. Because the door would not open, at 7:18 p.m., SERT used a battering ram to enter the room. Immediately upon entry, officers observed Allandale in a kneeling position holding a revolver pointed at the officers. Allandale exchanged gunfire with Sgt. Jackson and Sgt. Krauss.
A paramedic with the SERT was on scene to provide advanced life support to Mr. Allandale, who was pronounced dead at around 7:27 p.m.
A projectile was recovered from the ballistic shield carried by Sgt. Jackson, directly underneath the shield’s eye port. The two sergeants were transported to an area hospital for non-life-threatening injuries and later released.
A 2019 law, P.L. 2019, c. 1, requires the Attorney General’s Office to conduct investigations of a person’s death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody. It requires that all such investigations be presented to a grand jury to determine if the evidence supports the return of an indictment against the officer or officers involved.
The grand jury is instructed on the elements of the potential criminal offenses, including criminal homicide offenses, that could be brought and, as required by statutes, the grand jury is instructed on self-defense and other forms of legal justification.
A conflicts check was conducted pursuant to the Directive and no actual or potential conflict of interest was found involving any individual assigned to the investigation. Prior to presentation to the grand jury, the investigation was reviewed by OPIA Executive Director Thomas Eicher in accordance with the policies and procedures established for these presentations in the SOPs.
At the conclusion of these investigations, pursuant to the Directive and SOPs, OPIA determines whether any principal should be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agency for administrative review in accordance with the AG’s Internal Affairs Policy & Procedures. OPIA monitors any resulting review and takes such actions as are necessary to ensure that the review is completed in a timely fashion, and that appropriate actions are taken based on the results of the review.