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Fatal shooting probed by Essex prosecutor

BELLEVILLE –

A July fatal shooting in Belleville July 9 is being investigated by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force and the Professional Standards Bureau, it was announced by Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray and Belleville Police Chief Joseph P. Rotonda. The prosecutor’s office said a mother of four came to the Belleville Police Department to report that she was being physically abused by her husband, Dante Cespedes, 40, and to seek a restraining order.

The office said that four Belleville police officers went to the couple’s home on Lake St. to arrest Cespedes for allegedly assaulting his wife and to serve him with a temporary restraining order issued by Belleville Municipal Court Judge Karen Smith.

The office said Cespedes, who reportedly works as a chef at a New York hotel, lunged at the officers with two knives and three of the officers fired their weapons.

Office spokeswoman Katherine B. Carter said a total of 30 shots were fired. Cespedes was hit 24 times, she said.

Cespedes was pronounced dead at 2:01 a.m. at the Lake St. residence, the office said.

No autopsy results have been released yet.

Belleville Police declined to talk about the case.

– Ron Leir

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