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State police charge 3 men in I-287 motorcycle rider shooting in Somerset County

BRIDGEWATER TOWNSHIP, NJ (Somerset County) -Three Pennsylvania men are facing charges in connection with allegedly shooting a motorcycle rider during a verbal altercation on Interstate 287 in Somerset County, state police said.

On Sunday, May 23, at 6:41 p.m., state police responded to a shooting complaint on Chimney Rock Road in Bridgewater Township where a victim called 9-1-1 to report that another driver pulled up next to him, brandished a gun, and shot him while riding his motorcycle on Interstate 287. He was able to provide a description of the driver and vehicle, which was a white Honda Accord hatchback with a Pennsylvania license plate, state police said.

A short time later, officers with the North Plainfield Police Department located and stopped the vehicle on State Highway 22 in North Plainfield Township. When troopers arrived, they took custody of Matthew Plaza, 32, of Allentown, Luis Velez, 37, of Bethlehem and Raymond Bethancourt, 35, of Shillington and transported them to Somerville Station, state police said.

During the investigation, troopers executed a search warrant on the vehicle and located a 9mm handgun, .38 caliber revolver, marijuana, and ecstasy pills, state police said.

The victim was taken to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and later released, state police said.

Plaza, Velez, and Bethancourt were charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a high-capacity magazine, possession of weapons for unlawful purposes, possession of CDS with intent to distribute and conspiracy to commit murder. Plaza was also charged with attempted murder, state police said.

All three were lodged at the Somerset County Jail pending a detention hearing, state police said.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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