On March 10 at 3:46 p.m., Officers Jason Rodrigues, John Donovan, Det. Kyle Plaugic and Sgt. Jay Ward responded to a report of a fight at Davis Avenue and King Street. On arrival, the officers found a 17-year-old Kearny boy bleeding above his right eye and exhibiting scratches on his lower back. The victim and his friend reported they were in Dunkin’ Donuts earlier and recognized a group of people inside the store with whom they had some recent quarrels. The two boys walked out and were allegedly followed by the group.
The two boys alleged the people in the larger group began to punch them while on Kearny Avenue. One of the assailants allegedly pulled a knife and attempted to slash the scratched boy, but the boy reportedly kicked up at him from his back to parry the attack. That boy was treated at Clara Maass Medical Center for minor injuries.
Det. Michal Gontarczuk led the follow-up investigation and corroborated material elements of the story using nearby surveillance camera footage. On March 11, he filed a criminal complaint charging James H. Lopez, 21, of Kearny, the alleged knife-wielder, with aggravated assault, conspiracy and weapon possession charges. Lopez is currently at large.
Det. Gontarczuk also charged five Kearny juveniles on delinquency complaints for aggravated assault and conspiracy. They were a 17-year-old boy, two 16-year-old boys, a 16-year-old girl, and a 15-year-old boy. All were released with summonses.
On March 11 at 9:13 a.m., Officer Ryan Stickno and Sgt. Adriano Marques were dispatched to a domestic violence incident at a private home. A 30-year-old woman told the cops she lives with her ex-boyfriend and the two had an argument over property. During the argument, the 24-year-old ex-boyfriend allegedly punched the victim in the back and then choked her, causing her to briefly lose consciousness.
When the victim regained consciousness, the fight continued and she scratched the boyfriend’s face.
Officers arrested the ex-boyfriend on charges of aggravated assault and simple assault.
He was lodged in the Hudson County Jail, South Kearny.
On March 12 at 5:47 p.m., Officers Mat Lopez, Vanessa Sevillano, Sean Podolski and Ryan Stickno were dispatched to a report of a car burglary on the 300 block of Chestnut Street. They arrived while the suspect, Nicholas Morra, 45, of Kearny, was on scene.
Morra was accused by an area resident of staring at her while she removed her child from her car, and later opening her car door when she went inside her home. Officers placed Morra, who appeared to be under the influence, under arrest for criminal-attempt burglary. He was later released from the police station with a summons.
On March 12 at 9:58 p.m., Officers Lawrence Latka, Ruben Rivera, Angel Martinez and Sgt. Angelo Palagano were dispatched to a domestic dispute at a private home. A 32-year-old man reported his 39-year-old wife argued with him about who he was or wasn’t cooking dinner for. The argument escalated when the wife allegedly began beating him with a scale.
The man was left with scratches to his elbow and face, and a swollen wrist. Officers arrested the wife on charges of aggravated assault and weapon offenses. She was later released from the station with a summons.
On March 12 at 11:27 p.m., Officers Kevin Matos and Cort Montanino were dispatched to the Exxon station on Kearny Avenue on a report of a dispute. There, they found a 30-year-old town woman who reported she had an argument with her 56-year-old live-in landlord.
The landlord allegedly grabbed the woman from behind and slapped her in the face before pushing her to the floor and choking her. Two other roommates intervened allowing the victim to flee to the gas station and call police.
Officers went to the home and arrested the landlord-roommate. She was charged with simple assault and later released with a summons.
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Capt. Timothy Wagner | Kearny Police Department
Capt. Timothy Wagner is the Kearny Police Department's public-information officer and the commander of the department's Internal Affairs Unit. He contributes the KPD Blotter weekly and writes it completely.