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Victim Identified in Fatal Police Involved Shooting in Paterson


The Attorney General’s Office is investigating a fatal police-involved shooting that occurred on Wednesday, December 29, 2021, in Paterson. One male civilian sustained fatal injuries.

The decedent has been identified as Thelonious McKnight, 25, of Paterson.

According to the preliminary investigation, the Paterson Police Department officers were investigating an earlier incident when they encountered Mr. McKnight near East Main Street and Hillman Street shortly before 9 p.m. 

The investigation revealed that one police officer fired his service weapon during the encounter, fatally wounding Mr. McKnight. 

A 9mm handgun was recovered near Mr. McKnight. 

Police and emergency medical personnel rendered first aid to Mr. McKnight, and he was pronounced deceased at the scene by a physician from St. Joseph’s University Medical Center at 9:11 p.m.

This investigation is being conducted pursuant to Attorney General Directive 2019-4, which implements the statutory requirement that the Attorney General’s Office conduct the investigation of any death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody, and which establishes clear standards and procedures for conducting such investigations.

The investigation is ongoing, and no further information is being released at this time.