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State v. Johnson

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

December 27, 2013

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
SHAQUAN R. JOHNSON, Defendant-Appellant.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted November 18, 2013

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment No. 08-11-3407.

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Diane Toscano, Assistant Deputy Public Defender, of counsel and on the brief).

John J. Hoffman, Acting Attorney General, attorney for respondent (Jeffrey P. Mongiello, Deputy Attorney General, of counsel and on the brief).

Before Judges Parrillo and Guadagno.

PER CURIAM

During the early morning hours of April 20, 2008, defendant, Shaquan R. Johnson, embarked on a deadly crime spree in Irvington, killing one person and wounding two others, including a police officer. Armed with a .40 caliber handgun, he drove a silver 2001 Mercury Mountaineer to the corner of Eighteenth Avenue and Eastern Parkway where he confronted Hakim Hall, who was driving a burgundy Lexus. Johnson fired into the Lexus at Hall, hitting him in the hand.

Johnson then proceeded along Eighteenth Avenue toward Grove Street where twenty-two year-old Gary Farrar was waiting in his driveway with some friends for two co-workers to arrive. Johnson fired at Farrar, hitting him in the face. Farrar later died from his injury.

Johnson continued driving to the intersection of Grove Street and Springfield Avenue where he spotted an Irvington police patrol vehicle parked at the side of the road. Sergeant John Van Bavel was sitting inside the car. Johnson shot at Sgt. Van Bavel, striking him in the hip.

Before he returned to his mother's home, where he resided, the State alleged that Johnson attempted to murder another individual; attempted to kidnap and assault three other people, including a minor; and also attempted to assault three more.

Johnson returned to his mother's home in Newark around 3:30 a.m. Between 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., the next morning, Johnson left his mother's house to go to the store.

At that time, Detective Christopher Smith and Captain John Miller of the Essex County Prosecutor's Office were on patrol with State Trooper, Sergeant Vernacio Rivera, in Irvington. They had been given a description of the shooting suspect and his vehicle and were searching for him. After they observed defendant driving the Mountaineer, they stopped the vehicle.

Smith approached defendant's car on the driver's side. Smith denied having his gun drawn, however defendant testified that Smith's gun was drawn when he approached. Smith opened the driver's door and testified that defendant stated, "What's the problem[?] I'm just coming from my mother's house on Lindsley." Smith denied asking defendant any questions. Defendant testified that Smith asked him if he had a gun in the car, where he was coming from, and where his mother lived.

When Smith realized defendant fit the description of the shooter from the night before, he removed defendant from the vehicle. At that time, Smith was able to see some small white tablets on the center console, which he recognized as ecstasy. Defendant was placed under arrest ...


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