Saw pal fatally shot; now he’s shot dead

An East Orange man who was a passenger in a vehicle whose driver was fatally shot by police after a chase ended with a crash at the Lyndhurst-Rutherford border last fall, ended up a fatal shooting victim last week, according to published reports.

The Associated Press and other media sites cited a report by Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray that Jemmaine Bynes, 31, was slain after a shooting at a S. 10th St. location in Newark at around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday. Bynes was pronounced dead at the scene shortly before midnight, according to Murray.

Murray was quoted by NJ Advance Media as saying that Bynes had received multiple gunshot wounds in an apartment complex courtyard at S. 10th St. and Woodland Ave.

No further details were readily available about the shooting incident and Katherine Carter, spokeswoman for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, could not be reached last week.

The Observer had reported last year that the state Attorney General’s office became the lead agency for releasing information on last year’s shooting incident. The AG’s office said that Bynes was riding in a stolen Nissan Armada SUV driven by Kashad Ashford, 23, of Newark, during the early morning on Sept. 16, 2014.

A statement issued by the AG’s office said that at some point, the SUV rolled through North Arlington and one of its occupants tried to break into a vehicle parked in a resident’s driveway. North Arlington Police Chief Louis Ghione said that borough police responded to a Newell Place location at 2 a.m. on a report of a burglary and theft of a motor vehicle but, as cops approached, the suspects drove off.

Soon after the attempted break-in, the AG’s office said, Lyndhurst PD spotted the SUV and tried to pull it over but the SUV driver “proceeded to drive recklessly through Lyndhurst and surrounding towns,” pursued by Lyndhurst and Rutherford PD and State Police.

The AG’s office said the chase ended when the SUV hit a guardrail at the Ridge Road bridge at the Rt. 3 approach and patrol cars surrounded the vehicle in an effort to block it but the driver put the car in reverse, spinning the tires and filling the road with smoke, before backing the SUV into a patrol car.

At that point, the AG’s office said, officers fired at the driver, striking him. Ashford was taken to Hackensack Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 7:05 a.m.

(The website reported that Ashford had a prior criminal record, including having served more than three years on a conviction for aggravated assault and “resisting arrest by fleeing in a motor vehicle, creating a risk of injury.”)

Bynes surrendered and, after officers reportedly recovered a loaded .357-caliber Magnum handgun and a ski mask from the SUV, charged him with unlawful possession of a handgun, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose, possession of a firearm as a convicted felon and receiving stolen property. He was taken to Bergen County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.

NJ Advance Media reported that according to Bergen County Sheriff’s records, Bynes was released from jail in November 2014 after posting bail.

The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office has asked anyone with information on Bynes’ shooting to call detectives with the office’s Homicide and Major Crimes Task Force at 877-847-7432 or 973-621-4586.

Because an investigation of last September’s fatal shooting was undertaken by the AG’s Shooting Response Team, local police departments involved in the incident refused to provide further details about the circumstances of the shooting and the state appeals court has denied OPRA requests by two media outlets for information about the case.

Results of that investigation have yet to surface.

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