Police fired upon during Route 22 traffic stop by a 74-year-old man
READINGTON -- A 74-year-old man is charged with attempted murder in connection with a police-involved shooting on Route 22 on Tuesday night.
Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony Kearns said that two Readington Police officers on a routine patrol stopped to check on a car parked on the shoulder on the eastbound side near Ridge Road around 9:30 p.m.
No one was in the car but officers saw Rafael Garcia of Mountainside standing in a field, according to Kearns.. When the officers ordered Garcia to come in from the field, Kearns said Garcia fired multiple shots at them. The officers were able to take Garcia into custody without firing any shots according to Kearns, who said the Garcia was alone.
Garcia was charged with two counts of attempted murder, a first degree crime, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, a second degree crime, according to Kearns, and is being held on $1 million bail at the Somerset County Jail.
Route 22 was closed in both directions for several hours and was reopened around 3:30 a.m.
Kearns commended the officers, whose identities have not been disclosed, for their "quick and steady response to the threat which enabled them to bring the suspect into custody without further incident." He called the incident "an ardent reminder of the risks and dangers our officers face every day as they continue to keep all of us safe.”
Patrick Colligan, president of the New Jersey State Police Benevolent Association, tweeted, "God was watching over our officers in Hunterdon County tonight."
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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