NEWARK — A grand jury voted to not indict five city police officers who were involved in the fatal shooting of two residents last year.

Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray said the grand jury found "no cause" for charges in the deaths of 18-year-olds Najier Salaam and George Richard-Meyers, which occurred in the early morning hours of Sept. 30.

Officers were called to the scene after an off-duty officer reported following suspects wanted in connection with at least two armed robberies, Murray said. While the one officer was following the suspect, four others met at North 7th Street. Murray said when the suspects saw a patrol car they attempted to flee the scene in reverse and drove toward the off-duty officer just as he was exiting his car.

Murray said as they were attempting to get away, their car hit a marked patrol car. At that time, a fifth officer in a marked car arrived at the scene and heard a popping sound, which Murray said he believed to be gunfire. That officer said he saw what he believed to be a gun pointed at him by a passenger in the suspect's car. He said he fired in the direction of the passenger.

After the officer shot at the car, Murray said the suspects continued to drive in reverse before hitting another unmarked police car. Murray said the other officers on the scene believed the gunfire was aimed at them and also shot in the direction of the car. The driver and the passenger were fatally shot while a third passenger attempted to flee on foot before being arrested.

Murray said a search of the car found a black BB gun, which looked like a real gun, near the car. She said surveillance video showed the suspect tried to hide the gun and that no other guns were found on the suspects or in the car.

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