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Mountainside Man Accused of Shooting at Readington Police, Arrested

Readington Township Mountainside

Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns, III, Chief of Detectives John J. Kuczynski and Readington Township Police Chief Sebastian Donaruma announced that one individual has been arrested after firing a weapon at a two Readington Township police officer on Tuesday night.

Rafael Garcia, 74, of Mountainside, was arrested and charged with two counts of Attempted Murder, a first degree crime, and Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, a second degree crime.

Two Readington Township police officers observed a vehicle parked on the eastbound shoulder of Route 22 in Whitehouse Station at approximately 9:30 pm on Tuesday night. While investigating the abandoned vehicle the officers observed a man in a nearby field.

The man was instructed to come out of the field at which time the he fired multiple shots at the officers. The officers were able to successfully place the suspect in custody without returning fire. A thorough search of the area was conducted and it was determined there were no other persons involved and no threat to the public.

The bail for the defendant was set at $1,000,000 by the Honorable Judge Peter Tober, JSC. Mr. Garcia was lodged in the Somerset County Jail awaiting his first court appearance.

According to Prosecutor Kearns, “We are grateful that our officers were uninjured. I commend their quick and steady response to the threat which enabled them to bring the suspect into custody without further incident. The officers were cognizant of the risks to the public and were able to apprehend the suspect without placing passing motorists in harms way. This is an ardent reminder of the risks and dangers our officers face every day as they continue to keep all of us safe.”