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Prosecutor: Belleville Cops Shot Suspect 24 Times

A New Jersey prosecutor is warning against any rush to judgment following the disclosure three officers responding to a domestic abuse complaint shot a man 24 times.

Belleville Police Dept. cruiser (WABC-TV)

The officers in the northern New Jersey town of Belleville shot and killed Dante Cespedes, 40, while trying to arrest him at his apartment early Tuesday for allegedly assaulting his wife, authorities said.

Cespedes, a chef at New York’s Algonquian Hotel, came at police with at least two knives and the officers fired at him simultaneously, said Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray.

Murray told The Star-Ledger newspaper the number of rounds fired should not lead to any conclusions.

“We’re going to look at this, and the overall totality of what took place. Total number of shots is one thing we look at, also the time over which the shots were fired, and the directionality,” she said Wednesday.

The man’s wife, Judy Breton, said she took her children to police headquarters late Monday to file a complaint.  She said she wanted police to remove her husband from the apartment, “not to kill him.”

She said she doesn’t know why police couldn’t have used a stun gun or chemical spray, rather than lethal force.

“He was drunk. He wasn’t thinking. Why not use another kind of weapon?” she told the newspaper.

Four officers were sent to the home. Three got off 30 rounds, striking Cespedes in the torso and head and killing him almost immediately, the prosecutor said.

Belleville officers carry a semi-automatic .45-caliber handgun that holds 14 rounds.


(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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