The state Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team is investigating a fatal shooting of the driver of a stolen SUV at the Lyndhurst-Rutherford border early Tuesday, Sept. 16, according to a press release issued by the AG’s Office.
The driver, identified as Kashad Ashford, 23, of Newark, was shot by police shortly before 2:30 a.m. after a pursuit and a passenger in the vehicle, listed as Jemmaine T. Bynes, 30, of East Orange, was arrested.
The AG’s Office said the two men, who reportedly had a weapon inside the vehicle, were being chased in connection with their alleged efforts to steal or break into vehicles.
Police recovered a loaded .357-caliber Magnum handgun and a ski mask from the vehicle, the release said.
Patrol units from several local jurisdictions and State Police were involved in the pursuit, the release said.
According to the AG’s Office, a preliminary investigation has revealed that the episode began with the theft of a Nissan Armada SUV from an undisclosed location which was broadcast as a law enforcement alert.
This, the release said, came on the heels of an occupant of the SUV having allegedly attempted to break into another vehicle in the driveway of a residence in North Arlington during the early morning hours. North Arlington Police Chief Louis Ghione told The Observer that borough police got a call at 2 a.m. about a burglary and theft of a motor vehicle in progress at a Newell Place location. As officers approached the location, the suspects drove off, he said.
After the attempted break-in, the release said, Lyndhurst PD spotted the stolen SUV and tried to stop it but the SUV ignored instructions to pull over and, instead, “proceeded to drive recklessly through Lyndhurst and surrounding towns,” with Lyndhurst PD and State Police in pursuit and, then, Rutherford PD, as it continued into that borough.
The chase ended when the SUV hit a guardrail on Ridge Road at the Rt. 3 approach.
“Police positioned their vehicles around the SUV in an attempt to apprehend the vehicle’s occupants, but the driver put the car in reverse, spinning the tires of the vehicle until the roadway was filled with smoke,” the release said.
At that point, “The driver allegedly backed the SUV at the officers, ramming a police vehicle. Officers fired upon the driver of the SUV, striking him.” Ashford was taken to Hackensack Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 7:05 a.m.
Bynes, who wasn’t shot, surrendered to police after the shooting and was charged with unlawful possession of a handgun, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, possession of a firearm as a convicted felon and receiving stolen property, the release said. He was ordered held in Bergen County Jail on $100,000 bail.
The AG’s Shooting Response Team – which consists of deputy attorneys general, detectives of the AG’s Division of Criminal Justice and detectives of the State Police Major Crime Unit – handles investigations of shootings involving state troopers or officers employed by county prosecutors as detective/investigators or members of county task forces.
– Ron Leir