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Englewood brawl sparks shooting, car arson, investigation

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: An overnight brawl led to a car arson, a shooting — in which a bullet broke through the front window of a senior citizen’s apartment — and the arrest this morning of a convicted felon, Englewood police said this afternoon.

It began with a 1:15 a.m. fight yesterday involving several people at a social club near the Soldier’s Monument in the downtown Palisade Avenue business district, Detective Capt. Timothy Torell said.

Most had left or were leaving as police arrived, he said.

A little over an hour later, officers went to nearby Cleveland Street on a report of shots fired. They found several shell casings — and were alerted by the senior to the bullet that came through her front window.

“Thankfully no one was hurt,” Torell said.

The Bergen County Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Identification collected evidence. As they and city detectives worked, two explosions were heard in the area.

Moments later, 911 callers pointed police to a car fire on Central Avenue at the St. Nicholas Avenue, a little over a half-mile away.

Police found an unoccupied vehicle fully engulfed in flames. It had been stolen out of the city, Torell said.

“We believe the explosions we heard were the tires of the vehicle as they burst from the heat,” the captain added.

Englewood firefighters extinguished the blaze, which damaged the aluminum siding of a nearby home.

City detectives immedately contacted the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Arson Squad.

Investigators from both agencies worked through the night and into the following day, leading to the arrest of 31-year-old Englewood resident Raphael Lynch following a search of his 3rd Ward home early this morning.

The 6-foot-3-inch, 220-pound Lynch, who has a history of offenses dating back nearly a decade, was being held on $250,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail. He’s charged with aggravated arson, theft and various drug selling charges — for marijuana and prescription drugs on school property and near public housing.

“We strongly suspect, from the totality of the evidence, that all three incidents are related,” Torell said.

He asked that anyone with information about the night’s events call detectives: (201) 568-4875

“There are people out there who can help,” Torell said. “We are appealing to anyone’s sense of decency. Everyone has a senior citizen loved one somewhere.”

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