WOODBRIDGE – An off-duty township patrolman fired a single shot that killed a Paterson man, who was threatening to kill a 62-year-old woman at the Woodbridge Center shopping mall on March 8, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan and Woodbridge Police Director Robert Hubner announced Friday.
Officer Edward Barrett Jr., 32, was in uniform and was arriving at the mall for extra-duty work when he was alerted to a suspected shoplifting.
Barrett, with assistance of three mall security guards, approached Andres Garcia, 44, of Paterson on suspicion of shoplifting at an upscale clothing store. Garcia, who was wanted by authorities since Sept. 15, 2011 for violating his parole on a robbery conviction, fled.
Barrett and the mall guards chased him to the entrance of Sears, where Garcia grabbed the 62-year-old woman by the hair, held a knife to her neck and repeatedly threatened to kill her, authorities said.
The woman’s husband tried to hold onto his wife as she was dragged into the store.
Barrett repeatedly warned Garcia to drop the knife before firing the single shot that struck Garcia in the head at 5:15 p.m., according to authorities Garcia was pronounced dead at the scene at 5:32 p.m.
The woman and her husband were not harmed, authorities said. Their identities are being withheld.
An autopsy by the Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that Garcia died from the gunshot wound.
Barrett has been a member of the Woodbridge Police Department for eight years, and currently is assigned to the radio patrol division.
Following the shooting, members of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office took control of the scene and are heading a detailed investigation. In addition, the state Office of the Attorney General was immediately notified of the shooting in accordance with state guidelines.
Authorities are asking anyone with information about the incident to call the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-732-745-3300.
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