Carjacking Suspect Fatally Shot by Trooper: Sources

A suspect died after being shot by state troopers during an investigation into a carjacking in Union Township, New Jersey Tuesday evening, law enforcement sources said.

State police were investigating a carjacking when they encountered the suspect at a parking lot behind a housing complex on Walker Avenue, according to an attorney for the unidentified trooper who fired the fatal shot.

According to attorney Matthew Curran, the troopers -- members of an auto theft and carjacking task force -- were conducting surveillance on a vehicle on Walker Avenue that had been carjacked from a driver earlier.

The suspect, as expected, returned to the car, presumably to move it to a chop shop, said Curran.

The troopers confronted the suspect and gave him the opportunity to surrender peacefully, according to Curran. The suspect instead drove the vehicle toward one of the troopers, and the trooper fired his gun in response.

The vehicle crashed into several parked cars before it came to a stop, and emergency medical care was immediately administered, Curran and witnesses said. Witness Nadina Thomas told NBC 4 New York: "We actually saw the officers working on somebody, but from where we were standing, we couldn't see who it was." 

It's not clear if the suspect died at the scene or at a hospital.   

The troopers were treated for injuries during the assault, according to Curran.

"The response by the New Jersey State Police was textbook, and the citizens of New Jersey are fortunate to have these brave individuals putting their lives on the line every day," he said in a statement.

A spokesman for New Jersey State Police said the attorney general's shooting response team is on the scene investigating. State Police have not commented any further.

Neighbors were startled by the violent scene as they returned home from work Tuesday.

"You're praying nobody gets killed, and then you're praying it's not a fatal police shooting. And then if it is, you're praying it's justifiable, so there's a lot of things going on in your mind at this time," said Thomas.

-- Brynn Gingras and Brian Thompson contributed to this report

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