Cops Probe Motive in Holland Tunnel Chase, Shooting

Authorities say it's still not clear what sparked a police-involved shooting inside the Holland Tunnel that left one suspect wounded and two Port Authority police officers shaken up.

Friday night's incident also shut down the tunnel's New Jersey-to-New York lane, causing a massive traffic jam that lasted several hours.

Officials say the incident began around 6:10 p.m. when officers tried to stop a white, 1994 Jeep with two people inside near the tunnel toll plaza in Jersey City. The driver, who police say made an illegal lane change, wouldn't stop and tried to cram the car through traffic.  The officer who tried to stop the car felt his life was being threatened, and four shots were fired, police said.

Eventually a foot-chase ensued.

An officer fired another shot at the suspects -- hitting one in the arm.

Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman said driver Jahaad Sanders, 19, underwent medical treatment for a gunshot to the forearm and is being held on $350,000 bail.  Passenger Lorenzo Dease, 24, also of Brooklyn, is jailed at Metro Correction Facility.

The pair face charges of criminal attempted aggravated assault, carjacking, unlawful possession of a weapon, eluding police, resisting arrest and possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes -- a charge linked to using the jeep to plow through traffic.

The two shaken officers were treated at Jersey City Medical Center.

No gun was found in the car.  Witnesses said the suspects tried to open doors of parked cars in the tunnel, apparently looking to escape police.

“We're just sitting there and you kind of see in the mirror these two guys running towards us…banging on cars trying to open the doors to the cars to get in them,” Courtney Riozzi, who was stranded in the tunnel for three hours, told NBC New York. “They keep running and about 20 seconds later and the police are running after them.”

Riozzi wrote on her Twitter account that authorities had passed out bottles of water to stranded motorists.

Police confirmed the injured man had managed to enter the backseat of one motorist’s car.

Manhattan-bound traffic was diverted through late Friday night and traffic backed up for miles. But the westbound lanes remained open.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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