The needler in the haystack.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Cops chase shooter past City Hall on Thursday

Map shows route of shooter's vehicle wrong way on 6th Street
from Berckman Street to site of crash west of Central Avenue.
(Click to enlarge.)
Plainfield police pursued a man who fled the scene of a fatal shooting on Berckman Street and sped westbound the wrong way on 6th Street past City Hall at about 2:30 PM Thursday afternoon.

I was heading east on 6th Street toward City Hall and had just crossed Cleveland Avenue behind the YMCA when a grey sedan came barreling at me full speed the wrong way on 6th Street, having sped through the intersection by City Hall at Watchung Avenue without stopping.

I swerved onto the curb as the car roared by, with three Plainfield PD cruisers in hot pursuit. In my rear view mirror I saw the grey car go through the intersection of Park Avenue and 6th Street, also without stopping.

Not long after that the police had blocked off West 6th Street between Central Avenue and New Street. Parking near the Community Church of God, I was able to see that the grey car had struck a vehicle traveling eastbound on 6th Street midway in the block, causing it to overturn, and then had swerved into a boardinghouse on the southwest corner of 6th and Central, where it came to rest.

Overturned car is partly visible behind police cruiser;
shooter's car came to rest against boardinghouse in background
and is partly visible behind the dark sedan parked behind the fence.

Neighbors who gathered to watch told me the police had captured a man who attempted to run from the vehicle and that first responders had extricated at least one person from the overturned car.

A cop said the chase had begun after a shooting near East 6th and Berckman.

That East 6th Street neighborhood was cordoned off for the rest of the afternoon as police investigated the area, looking for shell casings and several slugs which had struck buildings in the area.

Residents and property owners have complained for years of drug trafficking in the area, and one said the police had been called recently to halt open drug dealing at a vacant nearby property.

People in the area said the victim was an employee of the Brothers Supermarket who was outside smoking a cigarette, apparently an innocent bystander. Media reports say he was declared dead at the scene.

The Ledger posted a brief item based on a release by Mark Spivey of the Union County Prosecutor's office (see here) and Suzanne Russell of the Courier actually came out to the scene to file her story (see here). News12 also filed a story here.

As of 5:00 PM, the police still had Berckman Street blocked between 5th and 7th Streets as well as East 6th Street at Scott Avenue. I am told the Police Division has asked businesses in the area with private surveillance systems to assist by letting police view their security tapes.

This East 6th Street neighborhood, which has an active block association, has for more than ten years been pressing the city for surveillance cameras to help combat drug activity. And for years, the city has promised it is "working on it".

Just in the past two months has the Council finally had an opportunity to approve the contracts for the installation of the cameras, which are expected to go live this spring. Though the exact camera locations will not be divulged, residents are expecting that their years of hopes and efforts will finally be fulfilled.

Then we will have to see how they help.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Virginia said...

This story makes me so sad for our city . Beautiful day ,kids getting out of school ,innocent people hurt or killed . I'm glad you were not hurt . That activity on Berckman has been obvious for a long time . I hope that this tragedy will precipitate positive action by the city.

Anonymous said...

Wow, talk about almost becoming a part of the story! Glad you are OK!

Anonymous said...

that's some crazy shit Mister Dan for real