A police officer shot and wounded a man late Saturday night on Johnson Avenue in the city’s South Ward after the man allegedly sped away with the officer hanging on to his vehicle, police director Samuel DeMaio said near the scene of the incident.
Both the man and the officer, neither of whom was identified, were taken to University Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, DeMaio said.
The director said the incident began shortly after 10 p.m. when two officers from the city’s fifth precinct who were patrolling the area saw a car circling the neighborhood near Johnson Avenue, an area known for narcotics activity, DeMaio said.
The man had stepped out of his car after parking it on Johnson Avenue but jumped back in when he saw the officers approaching. When one of the officers asked the man to stop, DeMaio said, the man instead reached inside his jacket pocket, put the car into drive and sped off toward the street’s dead-end. His car jumped the sidewalk and clipped a parked car, all the while with the officer hanging to the car, according to DeMaio.
The officer, who was dragged about 100 yards, “fired an undetermined number of shots” from his service weapon, DeMaio said, hitting the man at least once in the shoulder. The car then hit a building and came to a stop on its side, a spokeswoman from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office said.
City police and investigators from the prosecutor’s office were still gathering evidence around midnight this morning.