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Grand Jury: NJ Officer Justifiably Shot, Killed Knife-Wielding Man Who Stabbed Woman

Orange police
Orange police Photo Credit: ORANGE PD

A Newark man who’d just stabbed a woman was justifiably shot and killed by an Orange police officer after he charged at police with the knife, a grand jury found.

Jamahl Smith, 46, refused repeated commands by responding officers to drop the knife on the third floor of the Oakwood Towers on Oakwood Avenue around 3 p.m. June 13, 2019, Acting New Jersey Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck said Wednesday.

Instead, he “continued to advance toward the officers,” Bruck said.

Officer Willie Jones fired his service weapon three times, stopping Smith, the attorney general said.

The officers rendered aid to Smith and the 51-year-old woman whom he’d stabbed, Bruck said.

Smith was transported to University Hospital in Newark, where he was pronounced dead of gunshot wounds to his abdomen, forearm, and thigh, he said.

Despite overwhelming and convincing evidence of a clean shoot, Attorney General's Office protocol required the police--involved shooting be investigated by Bruck’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) and presented to 16 to 23 state residents called to serve on the grand jury.

"An officer may use deadly force in New Jersey when the officer reasonably believes it is immediately necessary to protect the officer or another person from imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm,” Bruck noted.

Grand jurors in Trenton agreed that's what happened in the Smith case, he said.

After hearing testimony and evidence from the investigation, they voted a “no bill” on Tuesday -- meaning that a majority found the officer’s actions justified, the attorney general said.

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