HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) — Two New York men tailed a car from New York into New Jersey before pulling alongside it on westbound Interstate 80 and firing several shots, killing the driver and wounding a passenger, authorities said Thursday as they announced murder charges.
The shooting occurred in Lodi, about 7 miles west of New York City, shortly after midnight early Saturday. Louis Perez, 27, of the Bronx, was killed, and a passenger in his car was injured, while a third person in the car escaped injury.
Two Long Island men — Douglas Coudrey, 22, of Eastport and Kenneth Regan, 21, of Centereach — were arrested Wednesday on Long Island and face charges of murder and attempted murder.
A third person, Robert Plunkett, 22, was arrested with Coudrey and Regan and faces a weapons charge in Suffolk County, New York. He was not charged in the highway shooting. Coudrey and Regan also face weapons charges in New York.
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Christopher Cassar, an attorney representing Coudrey at an initial court appearance in Suffolk County Thursday, said his client denies the allegations.
“We’re at a little bit of a disadvantage right now because we don’t know why police think he’s involved in this,” Cassar said.
Regan was represented at the court appearance by the Legal Aid Society of Suffolk County, a spokeswoman for the county district attorney's office said. A message was left at the society's office Thursday.
Authorities said surveillance video showed a red BMW SUV containing Coudrey and Regan followed Perez's black 2019 Honda Civic west over the George Washington Bridge from New York into New Jersey. They said the BMW pulled up next to the Honda on I-80 westbound and fired several shots.
The injured passenger, 24-year-old Jose Mercado of New York, was shot once in the chest and is in stable condition following surgery, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said.
This story corrects the headline to show that two people, not three, are charged with the highway shooting. A third person is charged with a separate weapons offense.