AG’s Office Investigates Police Shooting Of Suspect Who Allegedly Tried To Run Over State Trooper

Ariel Acosta (Photo courtesy of the NJ Attorney General's Office)

Ariel Acosta (Photo courtesy of the NJ Attorney General’s Office)

PATERSON – The New Jersey Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team is conducting an investigation into the circumstances surrounding a shooting in which a state trooper shot a city man last night in Paterson as the suspect allegedly attempted to run him over with his vehicle.

According to the preliminary investigation, at approximately 8:15 p.m., detectives from the State Police Drug Trafficking North were conducting an investigation last night in the area of a shopping mall parking lot located at Chamberlain Avenue and West Broadway in Paterson. Upon witnessing an alleged drug transaction, detectives got out of their vehicles to arrest of all the parties seated in and standing nearby a black Lexus.

As the troopers identified themselves, the suspect, later identified as Ariel Acosta, 26, of Paterson, seated in the driver’s seat of the vehicle, accelerated his vehicle toward a detective, authorities said. The detective fired a single shot, striking Acosta in the upper left chest area, and was simultaneously pinned between an unmarked police vehicle and the Lexus. The detective, who was struck in the right leg by Acosta’s vehicle, was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment and is currently listed in stable condition. Acosta was placed under arrest and taken to St. Joseph Medical Center in Paterson for treatment.

Yoel Sanchez (Photo courtesy of the NJ Attorney General's Office)

Yoel Sanchez (Photo courtesy of the NJ Attorney General’s Office)

Two other suspects, Yoel Sanchez, 30, of Paterson, and an armed 17-year-old male, also of Paterson were arrested without incident at the scene. The juvenile was found in possession of a loaded .22 caliber Ruger handgun. Members of the Shooting Response Team are in the process of obtaining a search warrant in order to search the suspect vehicle.

Acosta was treated, released and transported to the NJSP Totowa Station for processing. He, along with Sanchez, are currently being held at the Passaic County Jail. The juvenile is currently being held at the Essex County Youth Correctional Facility.

Acosta, Sanchez, and the juvenile were each charged with possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, possession with the intent to distribute CDS, conspiracy to possess and distribute CDS, and unlawful possession of a handgun. In addition, Acosta was charged with attempted murder, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose (the vehicle). Bail will be determined later this morning by a Passaic County Superior Court Judge.

The incident remains under investigation by the Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team. Under an Attorney General Directive, the Shooting Response Team, made up of deputy attorneys general, detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice and detectives of the State Police Major Crime Unit, are dispatched to the scene to handle investigations of such incidents.

The charges are mere accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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