No indictment of cops who shot man in library


A Bergen County grand jury has declined to indict two Lyndhurst police officers involved in the fatal shooting of a man inside the township’s Public Library last year.

County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal announced the decision last Wednesday, the day it was handed up, and issued a lengthy statement regarding the case, the investigation, and the evidence presented regarding the May 29, 2015, death of Kevin Allen, 36, of Lyndhurst.

According to Grewal’s report, Allen suffered nine gunshot wounds when the officers opened fire after he resisted being handcuffed, threatened them with a utility knife — ignoring repeated commands to drop the weapon and warnings that they would shoot — and then charged toward them wielding the knife. The officers had first deployed O.C. (pepper) spray, but it reportedly had no effect on Allen.

The events leading to the confrontation began at approximately 1:30 p.m. on the date in question when one of the officers, driving on Valley Brook Ave., saw Allen enter the library. Aware that he was the subject of a Lyndhurst theft investigation and had an open arrest warrant issued by the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department, the officer radioed headquarters and then also entered the library, the prosecutor said.

Allen was subsequently found in the Media Room on the top floor. The two walked into an area adjacent to the Young Adult Room, where the officer questioned Allen and then attempted to cuff him.

The prosecutor said Allen broke free and ran into the Young Adult Room, where the officer tackled him and both fell to the floor. However, Allen again broke free and positioned himself behind a piano. At this point, the second officer arrived on the scene and when Allen “refused to comply with the officers’ commands,” both cops discharged their O.C. spray, to no effect.

It was then that Allen drew the knife, and the situation escalated, eventually ending with the fatal shots being fired.

Following the shooting, another Lyndhurst officer who had arrived on the scene “immediately began to render first aid” and Allen was taken by ambulance to Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in Secaucus, where he was pronounced dead at approximately 2:24 p.m.

Grewal’s statement included the following: “Although none of the civilian witnesses at the library viewed the shooting itself, a number of [them] who were in the Media Room at the time of the shooting heard the police officers repeatedly shout commands at Mr. Allen to drop his weapon.” Two of the civilians “further corroborated that Mr. Allen was armed with a utility knife.”

Additionally, one of those witnesses observed Allen hold up the knife and then threaten “Officer 1, yelling: ‘I’m going to kill you! I am going to kill you!’ That witness also observed Officer 1 unsuccessfully attempt to use his/her O.C. spray in an effort to subdue Mr. Allen.”

The investigation into Allen’s death was conducted by the BCPO’s Major Crimes Unit and, the prosecutor said, included: interviews with 23 witnesses, including police and civilians; forensic evidence collected at the scene;  ballistics reports; review of all available video and audio recordings; consultation with the county Medical Examiner; review of all Lyndhurst PD reports related to the shooting and the theft investigation involving Allen; and review of training records related to the two  officers involved in the shooting.

According to Grewal’s statement: “The Grand Jury was instructed on potential criminal charges against the two officers, as well as on the law of justification — that is, the use of force in protection of self and others. After hearing evidence and being instructed on the law, the Grand Jury found that the actions of Officers 1 and 2 with respect to Mr. Allen’s shooting death were justified and declined to return criminal charges against either officer.”

[Editor’s note: The full text of the prosecutor’s statement regarding the case, including a detailed description of what transpired inside the library, ballistics and autopsy reports, was posted at If, by the time you read this, the statement is no longer available at that specific web address, visit, click on “Past Press Releases” and then on June 15.]

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