The incident began in a bizarre manner and, as Kearny Police Chief John Dowie noted, it could have ended far worse than it did.
Last Friday, Oct. 10, police were sent to the 200 block of Oakwood Ave. after headquarters began receiving calls that a man was going door-to-door asking for a charger for his cell phone.
At 2:30 in the morning. Officers Michael Santucci and Angelo Palagano responded, got a description of the individual and soon located Justin Schultz, 23, of Ridgefield walking at Oakwood and Chestnut St. As the cops approached to question him, he reportedly refused to halt and ignored repeated orders to remove his hand from his pocket.
Backing away, he warned them that “someone is going to die tonight,” Dowie said. The officers “advanced on him at their own risk,” the chief said, and as Palagano temporarily blinded Schultz with a flashlight, Santucci employed OC spray. Schultz tried to flee but, his vision impaired by the spray, he ran into a parked car and the officers were able to apprehend him, although he reportedly fought their attempts to handcuff him.
The item Schultz was clutching in his pocket turned out to be a cell phone.
He was charged with resisting arrest, aggravated assault on a police officer and obstruction of the administration of law.
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Other recent reports from the Kearny police blotter included the following:
At 1:15 p.m., a caller on the 100 block of Sanford Ave. reported seeing a man enter a backyard without a bicycle and leave with one. Officer Peter Jahera searched the area and located Danny Morales, 36, of Newark, who was ID’d by the witness.
Police said Morales was in possession of not only a bike but also a ShopRite bag containing $88 worth of Enfamil baby formula. Since the suspect was far closer to Walmart than to ShopRite, the former was contacted. Walmart scanned the cans and identified them as its property. Morales was charged with shoplifting as well as theft of the bike.
Officers Michael Santucci, Glenn Reed and Chris Medina responded to an 11 p.m. domestic dispute on Tappan St., where a man was reportedly “breaking up the house.” As Santucci was questioning him, 37-year-old Jan Himenez reportedly slammed and locked the door on the officer, who then heard the sounds of objects being broken inside.
After Santucci forced entry, pushing aside a TV blocking the door, Himenez allegedly flipped over a glass table and shoved it against the officer. Taken to the floor, he fought attempts by the three cops to cuff him, but was eventually restrained, taken to headquarters and booked for criminal mischief, resisting arrest and three counts of aggravated assault on a police officer.
Officers Palagano and Medina responded to Walmart at 1:30 a.m. after security reported that a shoplifter was somewhere in the parking lot with a cart full of merchandise ($1,264 worth). The officers spotted the suspect, Terrea Harding, 28, of Newark, loading items into a vehicle and brought her back to the store, where she was identified. Security then noted that a second woman, still inside, had stolen a cell phone, and the cops apprehended Nikiyah Linton, also 28 and from Newark. Police said the pair had been acting in concert.
Both were charged with shoplifting and conspiracy. Harding was also charged with resisting arrest and hindering apprehension, and police said Linton had an outstanding warrant from Newark.
At 3:40 a.m., a Kearny woman advised Officer Santucci that she had been confronted earlier on Quincy Ave. by an acquaintance, Jorge Balseca, 30, of Kearny, who had smashed her parked car with a club. Balseca came to HQ at Santucci’s request and was arrested for criminal mischief and possession of a weapon.
Officer Sean Kelly, investigating a 5 p.m. hit-run accident at Passaic and Park Aves., was advised that an off-duty N.J. state trooper had witnessed the mishap and had followed the offending vehicle, a black Honda Civic, to Passaic and Bergen Aves. Kelly and Sgt. Charles Smith arrived there to see Lorenzo Devone, 28, of Belleville, reportedly staggering away from the car. After field sobriety tests and an Alcotest, he was charged with DWI and having an open container of alcohol (a cup of vodka found in the center console) in a vehicle. Police said he also had a warrant from East Newark.
At 5:45 p.m., Officer Daniel Esteves was on patrol on Johnston Ave. when his mobile computer alerted him to a Nissan with an expired Texas registration. He also confirmed that owner Emmanuel Abreu, 22, of Kearny had an outstanding Kearny warrant. Abreu was arrested and the car was impounded.
At 6:30 p.m., at Afton St. and Kearny Ave., off-duty Det. Michael Gonzalez observed Daniel Tammaro, 19, of Kearny, whom he knew to have a Kearny warrant. Officers Brian Wisely and Kevin Arnesman searched the area and took Tammaro into custody.
At 3:20 a.m., after a report of an individual asleep in a car, Officer Jay Ward found a Hyundai stopped in the northbound lane of Kearny Ave. at Hoyt St. — its engine running, the car in drive, and the driver in dreamland.
Police said Ward put the auto in park and, after several attempts, managed to awaken Ranulfo Almeida, 32, of Kearny. Believing Almeida to be too intoxicated to perform FSTs, Ward brought him to HQ , where he reportedly refused to answer questions or submit to an Alcotest. He was charged with DWI, DWI in a school zone, refusal to take the Alcotest and reckless driving.
At 4:30 p.m., Ward arrested yet another slumberer at Kearny Ave. and Hoyt St., but this one was napping on the lawn at St. Cecilia’s Church. Along with Officer Arnesman, Ward roused Arthur Smith, 50, of Kearny, who reportedly became confrontational. Smith was charged with disorderly conduct and was also issued a summons for public intoxication.
Officer Jack Grimm, assigned to 2:30 p.m. dismissal duty at Kearny High School, saw in the area Franklin Salcedo, 18, of Kearny, whom he knew to be wanted on a township warrant. A search incident to arrest reportedly produced a plastic bag of suspected marijuana. Salcedo was charged on the warrant and with possession of the drug and drug paraphernalia.
Shortly before 1 a.m., it was back to Walmart, where Officer Palagano took into custody a woman whom security said had been trying to conceal clothing in her pocketbook. Jaleesa Torres, 25, of Irvington was arrested for shoplifting and on a theft warrant from Newark, motor vehicle warrants from Summit and Elizabeth and a town ordinance violation warrant from East Orange.
At 8 p.m., on the 500 block of Forest St., Officer Kelly came upon the week’s Sleeper No. 3, a teenager snoozing on the sidewalk, his feet propped up on a large bag of laundry. When awakened, he reportedly was disoriented and showed signs of intoxication.
While attempting to ID him, Kelly put him in the radio car, but the youth became agitated, tried to push past the officer and then kicked him, police said. At that point, he was cuffed and taken to HQ , where he had to be forcibly removed from the car.
Later identified as a 17-yearold Kearny resident, he was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and underage possession of alcohol, and was released in the custody of his father.
– Karen Zautyk