Trooper Shot At Fleeing Teens?,

Published: July 31, 2015

Trooper Shot At Fleeing Teens?,, The state Attorney General’s Office is continuing to investigate after an off-duty trooper fired three shots at a trio of teens as they fled from his neighborhood early Sunday morning.

Authorities may have a lot of questions they’re still looking to answer. So do we.

Here’s what’s known so far: According to the AG’s initial investigation, two 18-year-olds and a 19-year old went banging on the trooper’s door just before 2 a.m., mistaking it for a friend’s house. There was a verbal exchange through the door in which one of the teens apparently identified himself by name. When the trooper opened the door, the teens scrammed, heading back to their car.

According to the AG’s office, the trooper has said he thought the teens were intruders. He ran down his yard and into the street to try to stop the car. When it wouldn’t stop, he fired off three rounds, one of which hit a front tire.

No one was hurt, but the car became disabled about a mile and a half away. The teens called police to report that someone had fired shots at them, but one of the teens ran off before police arrived. Eventually, he was located – police used helicopters and K9s in the search, passenger Jesse Barkhorn said – and all three were detained until late in the morning before being let go.

No one has been charged, and the officer remains on duty, as of Wednesday. Authorities have not identified anyone involved, but the home where the altercation occurred is owned by Kissinger Barreau, a 2009 graduate of the New Jersey State Police Academy.

. Did the officer believe his life was in danger?

According to police scanner recordings from the night of the incident, Barreau told officers the people he believed were intruders “almost ran him over.”

Barkhorn said the car had to turn around and maneuver around other vehicles to get out of the cul-de-sac, but says the teens weren’t aiming for the officer – and said as they tried to leave, they saw a laser before seeing Barreau had a gun.

2. Well, will anyone be charged?

We’ll see. If investigators believe the teen driving the car was aiming for Barreau authorities could consider assault-by-auto-related charges. From a statement released by the AG’s office, authorities don’t seem to think the teens were trying to break into Barreau’s home.

The trooper could potentially face any number of charges, especially if he didn’t think his life was in danger, two ex-prosecutors have told NJ Advance Media. Some of those charges carry years of mandatory jail time.

3. Did the trooper identify himself?

According to the AG’s office, Barreau says he did but didn’t say at what point he told the teens he was a state trooper. Barkhorn said they never heard the officer identify himself as a state trooper.

Ex-Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi said that could be a significant issue. Barreau was off-duty, but once he invoked his authority as an officer of the law, he was acting as a cop, Bianchi said. And that means he’d be subject to rules and regulations that apply specifically to officers – such as a prohibition on firing a gun at a moving vehicle except as a last resort to save a life.

4. Was the officer detained? If not, why not?

There seem to be at least two calls to the police that night. The teens called police to report they’d been shot at, according to Barkhorn and the AG’s office. Police radio recordings indicate a call or calls from Barreau or his wife, reporting he’d just fired at three people he thought were intruders, and briefly followed them in his own car.

We know the teens were detained. Barkhorn said they were handcuffed for hours in the back of a police car, told they were being arrested for attempted burglary, and taken both to the Sparta and State Police Newton headquarters for questioning before being let go. It was about 9 hours before it was all over, he said.

But authorities haven’t said anything about whether Barreau was detained or how he was questioned about an officer-involved shooting.

5. Was anyone involved in the incident impaired by drugs or alcohol?

Authorities haven’t yet said if anyone involved was tested for drugs or alcohol.

6. What sort of a gun was used, and what happened to the other two bullets?

Authorities haven’t released that information yet either, except to say Barreau was using his personal gun, not a service weapon.

Who is investigating this?

This one, we can answer. The Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team is continuing to investigate. The team is made up of deputy attorneys general, detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice, and detectives of the State Police Major Crime Unit.

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