UPDATE: Authorities captured and charged three Long Island men in connection with the shooting death of a driver on Route 80 in Lodi last weekend.
"It was not a random shooting -- it was a targeted killing," New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said during a news conference Thursday in Hackensack with Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella, BCPO Chief of Detectives Robert Anzilotti and New Jersey State Police Lt. Colonel Fritz Frage.
Anzilotti identified the trio as:
- Kenneth Regan, 21, of Centereach, NY;
- Douglas Coudrey, 22, of Eastport, NY, the alleged shooter;
- Robert Plunkett, 22, also of Eastport.
The defendants were in a 2013 BMW SUV that followed a Honda Civic driven by Louis Perez, 27, of the Bronx, from New York City across the George Washington Bridge and onto westbound Route 80 around midnight last Saturday, Anzilotti said.
Eventually, the BMW pulled alongside the Honda and a passenger "extended his arm out the window and fired several shots into the victim's car" near Exit 64, the chief said.
Perez was pronounced dead at the scene from gunshots to the neck and chest, Anzilotti said.
Front-seat passenger, Jose Mercado, 24, was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the chest after troopers and EMS conducted CPR at the scene, the chief said (see video below).
Mercado has remained at HUMC in police custody, charged with being a fugitive from justice. Anzilotti said he was in stable condition.
A rear-seat passenger in the Civic, also 24, dialed 911, said Grewal, a former assistant U.S. attorney who preceded Musella as Bergen County prosecutor.
"It wasn't a random killing," the attorney general said Thursday. "The two suspects who were arrested were following the victims's car for a period of time. It was a targeted killing."
Investigators were still trying to determine the motive, he said.
The trio was captured after a brief chase in Suffolk County and were being held pending extradition proceedings.
Last Wednesday, Jan. 22, detectives from the prosecutor's office, State Police and Suffolk County police located the BMW and "executed search warrants on the vehicle and the residence where it was found," Anzilotti said.
Detectives were watching a home at 510 Montauk Highway in Eastport when the trio emerged and got into a white Ford Fusion, the chief said.
They were taken into custody after a brief chase and crash, he said.
Detectives recovered "a loaded, defaced .22-caliber rifle which had been modified to be used as a submachine gun" in the car and a sawed-off shotgun from the residence, Anzilotti said.
Regan and Coudrey are both charged in New Jersey with murder and two counts of attempted murder, as well as weapons offenses. All three also face weapons charges in Suffolk County.
Coudrey also was charged with escape for trying to flee Suffolk police headquarters, Anzilotti noted.
Authorities on Long Island will hold Regan and Coudrey pending extradition proceedings, he said.
VIDEO (below) shows an NJSP trooper and others furiously trying to revive one of the victims on the highway's westbound side near Exit 63 while awaiting EMS following Saturday's 12:16 a.m. shooting.
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