The Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team is conducting an investigation into the circumstances surrounding a shooting involving an off-duty state trooper that occurred during the early morning hours of Sunday in Sparta, according to the AG’s Office. Nobody was injured in the incident involving the trooper and three young men, the AG said.
The incident occurred at the home of the trooper on Whispering Woods Lane in Sparta sometime between 1:30 and 2 a.m. The preliminary investigation indicates that the trooper and his wife awoke to the sound of three young men knocking and making noise at their front door. The trooper said he went downstairs to investigate, armed with a personal handgun. After a verbal exchange through the door, the three young men fled, according to the trooper’s account. The trooper said that he suspected the men had been trying to enter his home. He said he identified himself as a trooper and pursued them on foot.
The three young men got into a car and drove away, turning around at the cul de sac at the end of the street. As they came back toward the trooper’s house, the trooper entered the street in an attempt to stop the vehicle, according to the AG’s Office account. When the vehicle did not stop, the trooper fired three rounds from his gun. Nobody was hit by the gunfire. One round struck a front wheel of the vehicle. The men stopped the disabled vehicle a short distance away. One of the three men called his mother and then 9-1-1 to report the shooting. Two of the young men were taken into custody nearby by the local police, and another fled but was located later by police. Statements were taken from the young men, aged 18, 18 and 19. No criminal charges have been filed at this time against anyone involved. The preliminary investigation indicates that the young men were in the area to attend a party and mistakenly believed the trooper’s home was the house of a friend.
The incident remains under investigation by the Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team. The names of the trooper and the three young men are not being released at this time. No further information is being released in light of the ongoing investigation.
Under an Attorney General Directive, the Shooting Response Team, made up of deputy attorneys general, detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice, and detectives of the State Police Major Crime Unit, are dispatched to the scene to handle investigations of shootings involving state or county law enforcement officers.