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Grand Jury: Police Justified Shooting Fleeing Driver Who Pointed Gun On NJ Highway Intersection

Near the scene of the shooting.
Near the scene of the shooting. Photo Credit: Kyle Mazza

UPDATE: Police were justified in shooting a fleeing motorist when he pointed a gun at them at a convergence of highways in Wayne, a state grand jury has found.

Bradley G. Pullman, 48, of Queens is seen on dashcam video pointing the gun out of his Lexus sedan following a high-speed chase that ended at the “spaghetti bowl” intersection of Route 46, 23 and 80 near the Willowbrook Mall.

The video was among the evidence reviewed by the grand jury, along with witness testimony, reports and autopsy results, Acting New Jersey Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck said.

Grand jury reviews are mandated procedure in New Jersey when a death occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer.

Pullman had made an illegal U-turn over the Route 46 median in Mountain Lakes, after which a local police officer tried to stop him, on April 26, 2020, Bruck said.

An eastbound pursuit through several towns followed, with Fairfield and Wayne police joining in and speeds reportedly reaching up to 100 miles an hour.

Fairfield and Wayne police joined in the chase, which ended at the busy intersection.

Once the pursuit ended, “the driver’s side door of the Lexus immediately opened and Mr. Pullman began to exit with a handgun visible in his hand, leveled and pointed out from the car,” Bruck said.

“The gun was pointed in the direction of an occupied Mountain Lakes police vehicle,” he said.

Three Fairfield officers and a Wayne lieutenant “began firing their service weapons, fatally wounding him,” the attorney general said.

Officers pulled Pullman from the car and conducted CPR before EMS arrived and pronounced him dead, Bruck said.

A .380-caliber pistol was recovered from his car, he said, adding that no police officers were injured.

Pullman, formerly of the Dutchess County, NY, town of Beacon, had a criminal record that included arrests for robbery in New York City and drunk driving in Ulster, NY.

State law and his own guidelines require Bruck's office to investigate deaths that occur “during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody," no matter what the circumstances are, he said.

The guidelines guarantee that the investigation is done “in a full, impartial and transparent manner," removing politics or personal agendas.

Once the investigation by Bruck’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) was complete, the results were presented to the grand jury.

The panel concluded its deliberations Tuesday with a majority finding that “the actions of the officers who shot Mr. Pullman were justified and no charges should be filed against them,” the attorney general said.

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