By: Richard L. Smith
On Tuesday, The NJ Attorney General’s Office released footage from a police body-worn camera and audio from a 9-1-1 call related to a fatal police-involved shooting on April 24, 2023, in the Laurence Harbor section of Old Bridge.
State officials say the decedent was previously identified as Luke Mendez, 26, of Laurence Harbor.
Attorney General Matthew Platkin said the officer who fired his service weapon at Mr. Mendez was identified as Officer Christopher Hammel of the Old Bridge Police Department.
The fatal shooting is under investigation by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA).
The recordings are being released pursuant to policies established by the Attorney General’s Office in 2019 to promote the fair, impartial, and transparent investigation of fatal police encounters.
Investigators previously met with the family of Mr. Mendez to provide them an opportunity to review the recordings before they were publicly released.
According to the preliminary investigation, police responded to a 9-1-1 call regarding a dispute on April 24, 2023, at approximately 3:09 p.m. at a residence on Woodland Avenue in Laurence Harbor.
Attorney General Platkin said as Mr. Mendez ran down a staircase holding a knife, Officer Hammel fired his service weapon, striking Mendez.
He was then transported to Old Bridge Medical Center and was pronounced deceased at 4:47 p.m.
The recordings can be viewed and listened to here: https://njoag.box.com/s/p53if3wmodn2lijbakzjbxv5oepvak89
The investigation is ongoing and no further information is being released at this time.