New Jersey

Man Fatally Shot by NJ Troopers Drank, Smoked Cigarette Before Shooting Dog in Car

The video and audio clips released by the attorney general’s office include footage from cameras mounted in police cars as well as body-worn cameras, which reveal a vehicle check that turned deadly over about 4 minutes

New Jersey Attorney General's Office

A Pennsylvania man pulled over in a ditch in his car was fatally shot by New Jersey troopers minutes after they arrived and after the man took a swig of a drink, puffed on a cigarette and then shot a dog in the car with him, according to the attorney general’s office and new video it released Monday.

The shooting unfolded after 1:30 a.m. in early November in Knowlton Township, not far from the Delaware Water Gap, when troopers Joselo Machuca and Eduardo Tejada responded to a report that a car had driven off the road into a ditch, according to the New Jersey attorney general's office.

The video and audio clips released by the attorney general’s office include footage from cameras mounted in police cars as well as body-worn cameras. They reveal a vehicle check that turned deadly over about 4 minutes.

The troopers approach the vehicle, turned perpendicular to the road in a ditch, and ask the driver, 34-year-old Timothy Parks of Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, if he is ok, footage shows. A dog is seated in the passenger seat, according to one video.

The troopers seem wary and Parks does not respond audibly to the troopers speaking to him.

“Don't touch that!” one yells. “Hey, keep your hands in the front.” It's not clear what they were referring to.

The video then shows Parks taking a drink of something. As he is pulling out what appears to be a cigarette, one of the troopers tells him to keep his hands on the wheel. There's soon a cloud of smoke from the end of the cigarette visible in the footage.

Music being played gets louder.

“Hey! Don't touch the gun,” one of the troopers says.

Footage shows gunfire then erupts, with Parks then getting out of the car and soon collapsing. The attorney general’s office said troopers shot Parks after he fired a gun, killing the dog.

The troopers approach him, detect a pulse and begin chest compressions.

“Sir, are you OK?” asks one of the troopers, the footage shows. Parks later died after he was taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital.

An investigation is ongoing and no other information was available, according to a spokesperson from the attorney general's office.

The attorney general's office is investigating under a 2019 law mandating its involvement in cases in which officers use fatal force. When the investigation is over, the case must be presented to a grand jury, which will decide whether charges should be filed, under the law.

The clips were released under 2019 policies by the attorney general's office aimed at making fatal police encounters more transparent.

Authorities met with Parks' family Monday to review the recordings, the attorney general's office said in a statement.

Contact information for Parks' family wasn't immediately available.

Copyright AP - Associated Press