27 dead in fatal encounters with N.J. law enforcement so far this year

By: - December 9, 2021 6:55 am

An August 2020 protest against police brutality in Newark. (Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

New Jersey’s first fatal police encounter of 2021 happened just a few minutes into the new year. Since then, 26 others have died while interacting with law enforcement officers here.

That’s up from 19 fatal police encounters in New Jersey last year and 21 in 2019.

A law that went into effect in 2019 requires the state Attorney General’s office to investigate all in-custody and on-duty fatalities and disclose the identities of officers involved.

  • Carl Dorsey III, 39, of South Orange was unarmed on Jan. 1 when a plainclothes cop in an unmarked car responding to a report of gunfire shot him.
  • A man, 29, whose name wasn’t released, shot himself on Jan. 10 after police pursued his car after an alleged domestic violence incident in Hopatcong.
  • Rashad Muse, 26, of Philadelphia, died on Feb. 6 following a police chase in Camden County. Investigators say Muse ditched his car and ran from police onto I-676 in Camden, where he was hit by several cars and killed.
  • James T. Cox, 43, of Carlstadt, killed himself on April 3 after police went to his house to check on his ex-wife, who had been reported missing. Police entered the house after an eight-hour standoff and found Cox and his ex-wife dead in what authorities ruled a murder-suicide.
  • Roy K. Jackel Jr., 41, of Wildwood Crest, died on April 5 in Franklin Township after he stole a responding officer’s cruiser following a car wreck, prompting a police chase. Another officer shot him after he ditched the cruiser and ran, unarmed, at them.
  • Francis De La Cruz Abad, 21, of Trenton, died after an officer in an unmarked car tried to stop him May 25 for driving a scooter without a helmet in Hamilton. He kept driving, collided with a van, and died from his injuries two days later.
  • Zandra Baez, 66, of Camden, died June 6 after a police cruiser hit her as she walked across a Camden street.
  • Lee Waskiewicz, 47, was shot to death June 7 in his Bayonne home by two officers who said he approached them with a knife.
  • O’Dean Cummings, 29, died June 16 in Woodbridge after he collided with a truck on his motorcycle while police tried to stop him.
  • A kidnapping suspect whose name wasn’t released died June 16 in Leonia after FBI agents shot him to death.
  • Everett Stern, 63, was riding a bicycle in Atlantic City on June 18 when a police cruiser hit him. Stern died a week later in the hospital.
  • Gulia Dale III, 61, died July 4 after police were called to his Newton home by a relative worried that he was suicidal and armed. Two officers fatally shot him when he got out of his truck with something in his hand, investigators said.
  • A man, 29, whose name was not released, killed himself in the presence of state troopers in Woodbine on July 11.
  • A man, 51, whose name wasn’t released, died after setting himself on fire when Bayonne police stopped his car on July 13 for alleged traffic violations.
  • Lisandro Villalba, 52, of Carteret, died July 28 after he argued with another man over a parking space in Carteret. Police arrived to settle the dispute, but Villalba had a “medical episode” and died at the hospital. Two men were criminally charged in his death after an autopsy revealed he had head trauma.
  • Julius Filep, 55, of Edison, died on Aug. 1 after a New Brunswick police officer responding to a call hit him as he walked on Route 18.
  • A man, 58, killed himself Aug. 19 after he barricaded himself in his Ridgefield Park home for two hours.
  • A man whose name wasn’t released died on Sept. 12 after a police pursuit in Winslow. Officers began chasing him after someone reported him as a hit-and-run driver. Police ended the chase, investigators said, but the man crashed his car and died at the hospital.
  • Charles Sharp III, 49, called police on Sept. 14 to report armed trespassers on his Mantua property. Responding officers found Sharp outside; one shot and killed Sharp. A replica handgun was found near his body.
  • Patrick Chin, 43, died on Sept. 28 after someone requested police to check his welfare. Police who entered his Hillsborough home found him with a three-foot sword, and one officer pepper-sprayed him while another shot him. He died at the hospital.
  • Jose Gonzalez, 41, died on Oct. 2 in Paterson after 911 callers reported a man walking on roofs, trying to break into homes. Responding officers found Gonzalez injured and incoherent on the ground behind a home. He died at the hospital.
  • A man, 36, whose name wasn’t released, died Oct. 24 after an officer was called to his Lyndhurst home to check on his welfare. The man fired at the officer with a handgun, and the officer fired back. Both missed, and the man then killed himself.
  • Damian Dymka, 29, died Nov. 1 after an off-duty Newark cop hit him as he walked on the shoulder of the Garden State Parkway. The officer was charged with vehicular homicide, driving while intoxicated, desecrating human remains, and related charges.
  • Mark D. Walker II, 34, of Virginia, died Nov. 6 in Long Branch after he got in a shootout with police who were trying to serve a warrant. Walker shot a detective in the leg, then barricaded himself inside a home until a fire erupted inside, investigators said. He ran out, carrying a baby and firing a gun at officers, and three officers returned fire, killing him.
  • Timothy Parks crashed his car into a ditch on Nov. 7 in Knowlton. When responding state troopers tried to talk to him, investigators said he pulled out a gun and shot his dog. Two troopers returned fire, killing him.
  • Two 9-year-old children whose names weren’t released died Nov. 25 in a car crash in North Brunswick after their wrong-way driver hit an Old Bridge police cruiser on a Route 1 ramp. The driver, Yokauri Batista-Alcantara, 31 was charged with aggravated manslaughter and related offenses.

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Dana DiFilippo
Dana DiFilippo

Dana DiFilippo comes to the New Jersey Monitor from WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR station, and the Philadelphia Daily News, a paper known for exposing corruption and holding public officials accountable. Prior to that, she worked at newspapers in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and suburban Philadelphia and has freelanced for various local and national magazines, newspapers and websites. She lives in Central Jersey with her husband, a photojournalist, and their two children.