No criminal charges for Morris Plains, NJ cop who killed man holding replica gun
MORRIS TOWNSHIP — No criminal charges will be filed against the Morris Plains cop who shot and killed a man while responding to a report of a domestic disturbance at a Morris Township home.
The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General announced that a state grand jury on Monday voted that the actions of Sergeant Christopher Cornine on July 14, 2020 should not result in charges.
Cornine was one of many officers from Morris, Morris Plains and Morristown who responded to the residence on Fairchild Avenue, home of Timothy O'Shea. A 911 caller had reported that a person at the residence had cut himself and had a gun, according to an investigation into the incident.
Upon arrival, officers took the caller into safety and soon encountered O'Shea, 24, who was holding a pistol and bleeding from the neck and wrists, according to the investigation. O'Shea would not comply with orders to drop the weapon; instead, he raised the weapon and pointed it in the direction of Sgt. Cornine.
Cornine fired 4 shots, striking O'Shea twice, according to the investigation. O'Shea was pronounced dead at Morristown Medical Center at 5:41 p.m., about 90 minutes after the initial 911 call.
The pistol that was in O'Shea's hand was a replica Beretta 9mm airsoft pistol, the investigation notes.
The victim was identified by Morristown Green as the son of retired Morris Twp. Police Lt. Kevin O'Shea, who currently serves as the department's executive administrative assistant.
Investigation of the fatal police encounter included interviews of witnesses, review of video footage, collection of forensic evidence, and autopsy results. After considering testimony and the evidence, the state grand jury determined that Cornine's actions were legally justified — an officer may use deadly force in New Jersey when the officer reasonably believes that it's necessary in order to protect the officer or another person from serious harm, danger, or death.
The Attorney General's Office noted that a "conflicts check" was also conducted, and no actual or potential conflict of interest was uncovered regarding any individual assigned to the investigation.