3 teens may sue after NJ trooper shot at their car
A group of New Jersey teenagers have filed a notice indicating they may sue over the actions of an off-duty state trooper who they say shot at them when they mistakenly knocked on his door.
The tort claim was filed on Oct. 20 on behalf of Jesse Barkhorn, Jon Baker-Peters and Matthew Mayer, all of Sparta.
The teens said they knocked on Trooper Kissinger Barreau's door by mistake at about 2 a.m. on July 26 while looking for a friend's house. They heard Barreau yelling obscenities and knew that they were at the wrong property, so they went back to their car and tried to leave, a lawyer for the teens wrote.
Baker said he swerved to avoid the officer standing in the street before the trooper fired three times at the car. No one was injured in the shooting in Sparta, located 50 miles northwest of New York City.
The car became disabled about a mile and a half away, according to the claim notice, and the teenagers were taken into custody.
Barreau told investigators that the vehicle nearly struck him.
The Oct. 20 filing of the tort claim was first reported by the New Jersey Herald. The state Treasury Department said public entities involved in the notice will be given a chance to settle before a lawsuit is filed.
Barreau, the Sparta Police Department and many "currently unknown officers, agents and employees of the State of New Jersey and the Sparta Police Department" were named as potential defendants.
The notice claimed negligence, false arrest, unlawful detention, infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery and unreasonable search and seizure. It also claimed pain and suffering from unspecified economic distress and economic loss.
The attorney general's office said it had no comment. The investigation into the shooting is ongoing and the trooper remains on active duty.