An investigation has cleared an Old Bridge police officer of wrongdoing, after the cop in shot a distraught 75-year-old man to death.

The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office announced the findings Monday, saying 75-year-old Talbot Schroeder — who'd been trying to cut his wrists and kill himself with the knife when police were called in January — repeatedly ignored an officer's commands to drop the knife. Schroeder also threatened the officer with the knife, the prosecutor's office said.

When police got a call the morning of Jan. 14, dispatchers could hear yelling and screaming in the background, and were told Schroeder had just stabbed himself in the stomach, the prosecutor's office said.

Two officers arrived at the Cedar Grove Place home. The first found Schroeder in downstairs room, seated, with the knife in his hand, the office said. When the officer told Schroeder to drop the knife, he refused, and made a motion as if he was going to throw it in the officer's direction, the prosecutor's office said.

The officer went to a stairwell for cover, but Schroeder stood and began walking toward him, brandishing the knife at head level, the prosecutor's office said. Schroeder kept refusing orders to drop the knife, and when the officer had nowhere to retreat further, he fired his duty weapon, striking Schroeder in the chest, the prosecutor's office said.

Schroeder was pronounced dead on scene at 6:27 a.m., about a half-hour after the initial call.

The second officer had heard the first's commands to drop the knife, and moving toward the sound of his voice, saw the first officer at the bottom of the stairs with his weapon draw, the prosecutor's office said. The second officer couldn't see Schroeder from that angle, and saw the first officer discharge his weapon, then immediately notified police headquarters and requested first aid, the prosecutor's office said.

Authorities further found that before the 911 call Schroeder had drawn a knife and had attempted to strike his wife, resulting in lacerations to her hand and face, the prosecutor's office said.

"She was able to flee upstairs and awaken her son who then, upon going downstairs, discovered his father on the floor, actively bleeding from lacerations to both his wrists," it said. "Talbot Schroeder refused to relinquish the knife to his son and reportedly pointed it in his direction when he tried to take it from him. It was during this exchange that 911 had been called."

According to the prosecutor's office, the offer who shot Schroeder successfully completed all annual mandatory firearms and Use of Force training prior to this incident.

The prosecutor's office said because Talbot repeatedly refused to drop his weapon, and had already shown he was willing to use it to cause harm, the officer was justified in using force.

The prosecutor's office did not disclose the names of the officers involved in its report.

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