LODI — Two men were charged with murder in the Saturday shooting of a driver in the middle of Route 80, police said.

Investigators say the fatal shooting was not road rage but a "targeting killing."

The two men facing murder charges were among three suspects arrested days later after a high-speed chase and an attempted escape from police headquarters, officials said.

Luis Perez, 27, of the Bronx, was driving his Honda Civic in the westbound lanes near Route 17 in Lodi around 12:15 a.m. Saturday when he was shot in the neck and chest by the gunfire from a car that pulled alongside, according to Attorney General Gurbir Grewal on Thursday.

Passenger Jose Mercado was shot in the chest and remained in critical condition Thursday. A third person in the Civic was not injured and called 911.

Grewal said that the shots were fired from a red BMW SUV driven by Kenneth Regan, 21, of Centereach, New York. The vehicle followed Perez from New York into New Jersey.

Douglas Coudrey, 21, of Eastport, New York, fired the shots, officials said.

Robert Plunkett was a third individual in the BMW.

Grewal would did not provide circumstances or motivation of the shooting but said it was a "targeted killing."  He would not say if it was gang or drug related.

Police located the SUV at a residence in Long Island and set up surveillance on Wednesday, according to Robert Anzilotti, chief of detectives for the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office.

When Regan, Coudrey and Plunkett left the home in a white Ford Fusion, police gave chase until the Ford crashed,  Anzilotti said.  Police found a rifle that had been modified to be used as a machine gun along with a sawed-off shot gun in the vehicle, according to Anzilotti.

Courday and Regan were charged by New Jersey with Perez's murder, two counts of attempted murder and weapons offenses. They also face weapons possession charges from Suffolk County. Courday also faces charges of trying to escape from Suffolk County police headquarters while in custody.

Plunkett was charged with weapons possession in Suffolk County.

All three are appearing in court on the New York charges on Thursday. Courday and Regan will be extradited to New Jersey on the murder charges.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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