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Bergen Prosecutor: Hackensack Police Officer Justified In Fatal Shooting

Raymond Peralta-Lantigua
Raymond Peralta-Lantigua Photo Credit: MUGSHOT: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY PROSECUTOR

HACKENSACK, N.J. – The shooting death of a knife-wielding man by a Hackensack police officer was legally justified and didn’t require a grand jury review, acting Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal said Thursday night.

Minutes after announcing that a grand jury cleared two other city officers in the May 2015 shooting death of an ex-con who charged at them with a meat cleaver, Grewal said there “were no material fact in dispute” in the shooting death of 22-year-old Raymond Peralta-Lantigua a month later.

The state Attorney General’s Office “agreed that it was not necessary to present this matter to a grand jury,” he added.

Officers went to the 100 block of Johnson Avenue in response to a 911 call from Peralta-Lantigua’s mother, who said he’d broken a television in their apartment and assaulted her, authorities said at the time.

He was sitting on the front steps, then jumped down and began walking – a large knife in hand -- toward the first arriving officer, Grewal said Thursday night.

“Drop the knife!” the officer shouted, Grewal said.

“No,” Peralta-Lantigua reportedly responded. “The knife is me!”

The officer began walking backward “in an effort to retreat and avoid the threat,” Grewal said.

Peralta-Lantigua “continued to advance” and “ignored commands to drop his weapon,” he said.

The officer hit a curb backing up and Peralta-Lantigua kept coming, the prosecutor said.

Once he got within three to five feet, the officer fired twice, he said.

Both shots hit Peralta-Lantigua, who was later pronounced dead at Hackensack University Medical Center, Grewal said.

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