|Yeah, this is 3 houses down from me :)
||[Jan. 13th, 2006|11:36 pm]
|||||will and grace||]|
Police shoot Rahway man during raid on his home
Officers say suspect aimed gun at them
Friday, January 13, 2006
BY JENNIFER GOLSON
A Rahway man allegedly pulled a gun on city police during a drug raid, prompting one of the officers to shoot him, an action authorities yesterday said was justified.
Gary Sweet, 29, of West Grand Avenue suffered a minor chest wound and was taken to University Hospital in Newark after the 9:20 p.m. incident Wednesday on West Grand Avenue, said Capt. Paul Wohltman. Sweet was treated and released yesterday, hospital spokesman Rogers Ramsey said.
Two officers also required treatment after the tense scene in the cramped apartment in Rahway, authorities said.
Sgt. Frank D'Errico, 48, later suffered a heart attack and eventually was airlifted to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. He was listed last night in stable but critical condition, nursing supervisor Nancy Coppola said.
Officer Jonathan Tilton, 31, who fired the shot, was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Rahway for observation and was released, officials said.
Sweet was alone when members of the city's Special Investigations Unit and the city's Special Response Team tried to enter the second-floor apartment with a search warrant, Wohltman said.
Sweet allegedly pointed a loaded handgun at the officers, and Tilton, a 7 1/2-year veteran of the force, hit him with one shot.
Officers recovered a .38-caliber handgun, loaded with five bullets, an ounce of suspected cocaine worth about $2,500, and $1,863 in cash, authorities said. Also found were 26 loose .38-caliber bullets and a digital scale commonly used to weigh drugs, authorities said.
Sweet was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and several drug and weapons charges, including drug possession with intent to distribute and possession with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school.
He was transferred to the Union County Jail in Elizabeth. Bail was set at $250,000.
A preliminary review by the Union County Prosecutor's Office indicates the shooting was justified, First Assistant Prosecutor Albert Cernadas Jr. said yesterday.
"If he (Sweet) would have fired a round, there would have been a good chance that he would have hit an officer," Rahway Police Chief Edward Hudak said.
Tilton was placed on administrative leave and will undergo counseling before he returns to work, a standard procedure, Hudak said.
"It looks to me, from all indications, it was a justifiable use of deadly force," Hudak said.
Local officials described the policemen as decorated and active officers. Mayor James Kennedy spoke with D'Errico and Tilton, the son of former police Chief Edward Tilton and former Councilwoman Deanna Tilton.
"I said to him (Tilton), you did the right thing here," Kennedy said. "I told him we're 110 percent behind him."
Tilton is part of the Union County Emergency Response Team and recently returned from a tour with that unit to hurricane- ravaged New Orleans, Kennedy said.
A longtime friend of the D'Errico family, Kennedy called the sergeant "an incredibly dedicated police officer who loves his job and takes it very seriously."
Tilton and D'Errico are members of Rahway's Special Response Team. D'Errico, a 25-year veteran, also is a former state delegate and former president of the Rahway Policemen's Benevolent Association Local 31, Hudak said.
"The feelings of the officers toward Frank was evident last night (Wednesday)," Hudak said. About 40 fellow officers showed up before he was airlifted to New Brunswick.