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Union County Collects Over 100 Weapons In Gun Turn In Event

Union County’s 2022 Gun Turn-In event was a success, with residents turning in nearly 100 unwanted guns.  The event was held on Saturday, April 23rd in Springfield.  Amongst the firearms surrendered were an assault rifle, 50 additional rifles and 43 shotguns.  In excess of 550 pounds of ammunition and 40 pounds of prescription pills were also handed in.

No questions were asked, and guns and ammunition in any condition were accepted.

“As elected officials, we should do everything to protect our residents, children and families, so holding an event where people can safely turn-in unused, unwanted or old guns, is one way to do so,” said Union County Commissioner Sergio Granados. “We remain committed to making Union County a safe place to live, so I appreciate our continued partnership with the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, Union County Police Department and local police departments for supporting events such as these.”

“Dedicated collaboration between State, County, and local organizations made Saturday’s event a success,” said Union County Prosecutor William Daniel. “The enthusiastic participation of community members highlights the importance of fostering relationships between law enforcement agencies and the citizens we serve, as we work towards our common goal of safer communities. These events are but one powerful tool the community can use to combat gun violence in our communities. We look forward to hosting more events in the future.”

“This turn-in event would not have been successful without the continued collaboration from both local police departments and County residents,” said Commissioner Chris Hudak. “I would like to thank the Springfield Police Department for teaming up with Union County on this initiative, as we work together to ensure the safety and quality of life for all.”

“The teamwork between the several law enforcement agencies involved and Pastor John of the Calvary Assembly of God Church – who allowed us to make use of his ideally located facility — enabled this event to be very successful with the collection of numerous weapons, ammunition and the large quantity of unwanted prescription drugs surrendered by the community,” added Springfield Police Chief John Cook.

This public safety event was supported by the Union County Board of County Commissioners and sponsored by the Union County Prosecutor and the Union County Sheriff with the Union County Division of Police and the Springfield Police Department.

For questions about this event, call the Union County Department of Public Safety at 908-654-9816.

Union County Police Department Captain John DaSilva, UCPO Deputy Chief of Detectives Jose Vendas, UCPO Chief of Detectives Harvey Barnwell, Springfield Township Mayor Alex Keiser, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel, Union County Commissioner Chris Hudak, Union County Commissioner Lourdes Leon, Union County First Assistant Prosecutor James Tansey, Union County Police Captain Martin Mogensen.
UCPO Deputy Chief of Detectives Jose Vendas, Union County Police Department Captain John DaSilva, Union County Commissioner Sergio Granados, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel, Springfield Township Mayor Alex Keiser, Union County Commissioner Chris Hudak, Union County Commissioner Lourdes Leon, Union County First Assistant Prosecutor James Tansey, Union County Police Captain Martin Mogensen.
Union County Police Department Captain John DaSilva, Union County Police Captain Martin Mogensen, Union County Commissioner Sergio Granados, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel, Union County Commissioner Lourdes Leon , Union County First Assistant Prosecutor James Tansey.
Union County Police Department Captain John DaSilva, Union County Police Captain Martin Mogensen, Union County Commissioner Sergio Granados,  Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel, Union County Commissioner Lourdes Leon , Union County First Assistant Prosecutor James Tansey.
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Prosecutor

Man arrested in Elizabeth road rage attempted murder

Vincent Jean

An Elizabeth man has been charged after running down and severely injuring a local woman, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel, Elizabeth Police Director Earl Graves and Police Chief Giacomo Sacca jointly announced Monday.

Vincent Jean, 56, of Elizabeth, has been charged with first-degree attempted murder, second-degree aggravated assault, third-degree aggravated assault with a deadly weapon,  third-degree assault by auto, third-degree leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident with serious bodily injury, third-degree endangering an injured victim and third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.

Shortly after 8:30 yesterday morning, Elizabeth Police Officers responded to the area of Salem Avenue and Aberdeen Road on the report of a pedestrian who had been struck by a vehicle.  Once they arrived, they discovered a 23-year old female lying on the front lawn of a residence on Salem Avenue, suffering from numerous severe injuries.  She was subsequently transported to University Hospital in critical condition.    Witnesses at the scene indicated that the victim and a male suspect, driving a silver Mitsubishi SUV, were involved in a minor car accident in the area.  After the accident, the male driver attempted to flee the scene and the victim, who was standing on the sidewalk, began taking photos of the suspect’s car in order to be able to identify him to the police.  At that point, the suspect drove his car directly at the victim and she began to run onto the lawn to avoid being struck. The suspect drove onto the lawn and struck the victim, then drove over her before backing up and deliberately running her over a second time.  The suspect then fled the area in the SUV.  Later that morning, Elizabeth Patrol Officers located Jean sitting alone in the driver’s seat of his parked, damaged SUV on Jefferson Avenue in the City.  He was ultimately charged, taken into custody and remains in the County Jail pending a Court appearance.

Anyone with further information about this incident is being urged to contact Elizabeth Police Detective Thomas Koczur at 908-358-9675 or Detective Edward Benenati at 908-328-6972.

Convictions on crimes of the first-degree are commonly punishable by terms of between 10 and 20 years in state prison.  Second-degree crimes carry terms of between 5 and 10 years, and those of the third-degree, between 3 and 5 years.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Prosecutor

Two men arrested for Elizabeth murder

Tyreek Howard
Ali Karim

Authorities arrested two Elizabeth men Wednesday for a fatal shooting that took place in Elizabeth this past September, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel, Elizabeth Police Director Earl J.  Graves and Elizabeth Police Chief Giacomo Sacca jointly announced Friday.

Tyreek Howard, 31 and Ali Karim, 18, both of Elizabeth, are charged with first-degree murder, second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, and second-degree possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose in connection with the shooting death of Paul Baez, 17, of Elizabeth.

Shortly before 2:30 p.m. on September 27th Elizabeth Police Department Patrol units responded to the 100 block of Fulton Street where they found Baez, having sustained multiple gunshot wounds.  He was subsequently pronounced dead, said Assistant Prosecutor Jillian Reyes, who is prosecuting the case.

An investigation led by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Task Force and the Elizabeth Police Department, with the assistance of the Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit and the Union County Police Department Ballistics Unit led to the identification of Howard and Karim as the suspects.  They were both arrested Wednesday in Elizabeth and subsequently lodged in the County Jail pending initial Court appearances.    

“We appreciate the hard work and the collaboration with our local law enforcement agencies who assisted our Office in locating and apprehending the suspects,” Prosecutor Daniel said. “And we hope that this arrest can bring some small measure of comfort to all those grieving Mr. Baez.”

This matter is ongoing and anyone with information is being urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Task Force Sergeant Lamar Hartsfield at (908) 451-1873, Detective Sean Holcomb (908) 358-8377 or Elizabeth Police Department Detective Edward Benenati at (908) 328-6972.

Convictions on crimes of this nature are punishable by terms of up to life in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Prosecutor

Former Summit teacher indicted for sexual crimes against several students

Last Thursday, a Union County Grand Jury returned a thirteen count indictment against a retired drama teacher and theater director at a middle school in Summit, Union County Prosecutor William A. Danieland Acting Summit Police Chief Steven Zagorski jointly announced Wednesday.

Ronald E. Wells

Ronald E. Wells, 70 of Summit, is charged with one count of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, two counts of second-degree sexual assault, four counts of third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact and six counts of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child in connection with a series of sexual offenses he committed against sixmale students between 2003 and 2017.  All of the victims were between the ages of 12 and 14 during their assaults.

A joint investigation by the Summit Police Department and the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit began when in June of 2021, a former student reported to the Summit Police that he had been assaulted by Wells in 2016 in a private area of the Lawton C. Johnson Summit Middle School, according to Assistant Prosecutor Caroline Lawlor, who is prosecuting the case.  Wells was charged soon thereafter.  During the course of the investigation, several other victims, also former students, came forward to the Summit Police Department alleging acts by Wells dating back as far as 2003.  

Wells is currently on pre-trial release pending his post-indictment arraignment before Union County Superior Court Judge Robert A. Kirsch on Monday, April 18.

Anyone with information about this or similar incidents involving Wells is being urged to contact Summit Police Department Captain Ryan Peters at 908-277-9380.

Convictions on crimes of the first-degree are commonly punishable by terms of between 10 and 20 years in state prison.  Second-degree crimes carry terms of between 5 and 10 years, and those of the third-degree, between 3 and 5 years.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Man Pleads Guilty in Disappearance and Death of his Child’s Mother

Yesterday an East Orange man, charged with the death of his estranged girlfriend and the kidnapping their son in an incident that resulted in a widely broadcasted Amber Alert last July, pled guilty and is facing a 30 year prison sentence, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel announced Tuesday.

Tyler Rios

Tyler Rios, 27 of East Orange, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of first-degree aggravated manslaughter and one count of second-degree desecrating of human remains in the death of 24 year-old Yasemin Uyar, before Union County Superior Court Judge John Deitch.

The July, 2021 incident that resulted in a widely broadcasted Amber Alert launched a multi-state investigation which led to the recovery of the child and the discovery of Uyar’s body in Tennessee.

An investigation led by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office – and assisted by members of the FBI’s Newark Field Office and satellite offices, the New Jersey State Police, and the Rahway Police Department – led to Rios being identified as the suspect in the case after their son Sebastian Rios did not show up for daycare on July 9th and Uyar did not arrive for scheduled work shifts, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Grady, who is prosecuting the case. A welfare check was conducted on Uyar’s home by members of the Rahway Police Department, but no one was found inside, Grady said.

Shortly thereafter, the State Police issued an Amber Alert that was sent to privately owned cell phones, broadcast on electronic billboards along highways in New Jersey and beyond, and widely shared via social media.

Through the relentless efforts of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and the above agencies — as well as a result of the extraordinary assistance from the Putnam County Tennessee Sheriff’s Office and the FBI’s Memphis Field Office and satellite offices – Sebastian Rios was found unharmed in Monterey, Tennessee on July 10th, when Tyler Rios was taken into custody without incident. Later in the day, investigators located Uyar’s body in a wooded area nearby, off of Interstate I-40.

An autopsy performed on Uyar revealed that her death resulted from strangulation and blunt force trauma.  The investigation subsequently revealed that, on July 8th, Rios killed Uyar in her Rahway home before placing her in the trunk of his car, then taking his son and fleeing to Tennessee.

Sentencing in the case has been tentatively scheduled for Friday, June 10, 2022, at which time the State will request a term of 25 years in state prison pursuant to the No-Early-Release Act (NERA) — which requires persons convicted of certain violent crimes to serve 85% of their sentence before being eligible for parole – on the aggravated manslaughter charge.  The State will also be seeking a 5 year term on the desecration count to run consecutive to the manslaughter charge.

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One man arrested one remains at-large in Elizabeth home invasion

A Rahway man was arrested last Thursday and a co-conspirator remains at-large after they were criminally charged with an armed home invasion robbery in Elizabeth on March 2nd, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel, Elizabeth Police Director Earl J. Graves and Elizabeth Police Chief Giacomo Sacca jointly announced Friday.

Herby Desir, 34, of Rahway and Emmanuel Rivera, 33 of Carteret are both charged with 3 counts of first-degree robbery, 1 count of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, 1 count of possession of a firearm for unlawful purposes; 1 count of third-degree criminal restraint, and 1 count of second-degree conspiracy in connection with the home invasion. 

Shortly after 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 2nd members of the Elizabeth Police Department responded to a home on Summit Road, near the intersection of Colonia Road, and found the elderly homeowner — who had been restrained by the assailants – with another resident who had discovered the victim in the home and cut her loose.  She had been held at gunpoint during the robbery, from which Desir and Rivera fled and made off with the victim’s valuables.

A joint investigation by the Elizabeth Police Department and the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Intelligence Driven Prosecution Unit, and with the assistance of the Rahway Police Department, resulted in the identification of Desir and Rivera as the robbery suspects. Desir was arrested on March 24th in Rahway without incident.  He remains in the County Jail pending further Court proceedings.  Rivera remains at large.

Emmanuel Rivera is a 33 year-old Hispanic male, standing approximately 5’8”, weighing approximately 160 lbs., has short brown hair, and brown eyes.  He has tattoos along his left wrist, his right shoulder and bicep area, and across his chest. 

Anyone with information about this matter or the whereabouts of Emmanuel Rivera is urged to contact Elizabeth Police Detective Louis Demondo at 908-558-2100 or Prosecutor’s Office Detective Katelyn Prata at 908-447-6195.  Anyone coming in contact with Rivera should refrain from approaching or confronting him and should contact the police immediately.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously by phone at 908-654-TIPS (8477) or online at www.uctip.org; submission of tips made in this fashion that result in an indictment and conviction can be eligible for a reward of up to $10,000 via the Union County Crime Stoppers.

Convictions on crimes of the first-degree are commonly punishable by terms of between 10 and 20 years in state prison.  Second-degree crimes carry terms of between 5 and 10 years, and those of the third-degree, between 3 and 5 years.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Hudson County man found guilty in fatal hit-and-run of child

A Union County jury has returned a guilty verdict on the sole charge filed against a man who fatally struck a 12-year old child in Union and fled the scene in July of 2019, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel and Union Police Director Daniel Zieser jointly announced today.

Jose Marrero, 39, of Kearny was found guilty Friday on one count of knowingly leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, a second-degree crime, following a week-long trial before Union County Superior Court Judge Robert Kirsch.  The jury deliberated for less than an hour before returning its verdict. 

Just before 8 p.m. on July 17, 2019, Union Police Department patrol units responded to a report of a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle in the area of Forest Drive and Galloping Hill Road, according to Assistant Prosecutors Scott Peterson and James Brady who prosecuted the case. There, they found an unresponsive 12-year old child, Jeremy Maraj of Union, who was rushed to University Hospital in Newark.  He succumbed to his injuries two days later. 

At trial, the State revealed that, at the time of the accident, Marrero was driving his work vehicle, a 2016 Nissan NV200 Cargo Van, when he struck Maraj on the shoulder of Galloping Hill Road.  Witnesses to the accident testified that Marrero didn’t stop and fled the scene.  Video surveillance obtained from the area and parts from the van recovered at the scene ultimately led Detectives to Marrero, Peterson and Brady said.     

Sentencing has been scheduled for Friday, June 10, 2022 before Judge Kirsch, at which time Marrero can face a sentence of up to ten years in state prison.

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Fugitive shooter captured for Elizabeth murder

Authorities arrested an Elizabeth man Tuesday for a fatal shooting that took place in Elizabeth this past December, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel, Elizabeth Police Director Earl J.  Graves and Elizabeth Police Chief Giacomo Sacca jointly announced Wednesday.

Deshon Fleming, 36 of Elizabeth is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, and second-degree possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose in connection with the shooting death of Shamar Brown, 34, of Elizabeth.

At approximately 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 16th, members of the Elizabeth Police Department responded to the intersection of Second and Bond Streets in Elizabeth where they found Brown, having sustained a gunshot wound. He was subsequently pronounced dead at the scene, said Assistant Prosecutor Scott Peterson, who is prosecuting the case.

An investigation led by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Task Force and the Elizabeth Police Department, with the assistance of the Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, the Union County Police Department Ballistics Unit and the United States Marshals Service led to the identification of Fleming as the shooter.  He was charged in February of this year and remained a fugitive until he was located and apprehended yesterday afternoon at the Flora Motel in Elizabeth by members of the Elizabeth Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).  He was subsequently taken to the County Jail pending a first appearance.    

“We are appreciative of the collaboration with the local and federal law enforcement agencies who assisted our Office in locating and apprehending the suspect,” Prosecutor Daniel said. “And we hope that this arrest can bring some small measure of comfort to all those grieving Mr. Brown.”

This matter is ongoing and anyone with information is being urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Task Force Sergeant Christopher Scuorzo at 908-472-0492, Detective Richard Acosta at 908-347-0404, or Elizabeth Police Department Detective John Londono at 908-578-5192.

Convictions on crimes of this nature are punishable by terms of up to life in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Bergen County man arrested for Elizabeth slaying

A man was arrested Monday evening after being criminally charged with stabbing a man to death Monday, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel, Elizabeth Police Director Earl J. Graves and Police Chief Giacomo Sacca jointly announced Wednesday.

Javan Johnson, 30, of Bergenfield is charged with first-degree murder, third-degree possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes and fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon in connection with the death of Marlon Pantin, 37 of Brooklyn, New York. 

Shortly after 1:00 a.m. on Monday, members of the Elizabeth Police Department responded to the Country Inn & Suites at 100 International Drive and found Pantin — who had sustained critical injuries as a result of being stabbed — laying on the lobby floor.  He was transported to University Hospital in Newark and subsequently pronounced dead, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Grady, who is prosecuting the case.

An investigation led by the Union County Homicide Task Force and the Elizabeth Police Department, and with the assistance of the Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and the Bergenfield Police Department resulted in the identification of Johnson as the murder suspect.  He subsequently surrendered to authorities on Monday evening and was transported to the County Jail pending Court proceedings.

“We are grateful for the collaboration from the local law enforcement agencies who assisted our Office in locating and apprehending the suspect,” Prosecutor Daniel said. “And we hope that this arrest can bring some small measure of comfort to all those grieving Mr. Pantin.”

Anyone with information about this matter is still urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Task Force Sgt. Lamar Hartsfield at 908-451-1873, Homicide Task Force Sergeant Filipe Alfonso at 908-603-7116 or Elizabeth Police Detective Louis Demondo at 908-558-2100.

Convictions on crimes of this nature are commonly punishable by terms of up to life in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Prosecutor

Opportunity to donate to the people of Ukraine will now be available at the Union County St. Patrick’s Day Parade

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has uprooted families, injured citizens, and left thousands of Ukrainian refugees without access to basic necessities. To date, nearly 1.5 million Ukrainians have fled their homes, many leaving behind necessary supplies.

To support individuals in need, the Union County Board of County Commissioners and the Union County Prosecutor’s Office have partnered to organize a county-wide donation drive for the people of Ukraine.  Donation boxes are available in the lobby of Union County law enforcement agencies, totaling twenty-four locations in all.

To bolster the drive, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and the Union Police Department will be accepting donations at the Union County St. Patrick’s Day Parade, this Saturday, March 26th, starting at 1:00 p.m. at the corner of Caldwell and Morris Avenues in Union.  Members of the public are invited to bring donations of first aid supplies, toiletries, flashlights, blankets, batteries, clothing, shoes, diapers, formula, and more. In addition to collections on the day of the parade, the program will run for the foreseeable future, as long as continued aid is needed. This donation drive is made possible through a partnership with law enforcement and local Polish and Ukrainian organizations.

“In support of the international effort to aid Ukraine, we encourage Union County residents to help ensure that life-sustaining emergency supplies reach those in desperate need of assistance,” said Union County Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams

 “I am immensely grateful to the police Chiefs and Directors of Union County for opening their agencies to this initiative,” said Union County Prosecutor William Daniel. “Police departments are at the heart of every community, positioning them as the perfect location for members of the public to come together in support of the Ukrainian people.”

 “As a Polish immigrant, and an active member of the Polish and Ukrainian communities in Union County, I was eager to find a way for the County’s law enforcement community to provide humanitarian aid to the Ukrainian refugees.” said Prosecutor’s Office Detective Dariusz Tokarz, who coordinated the collection event.

Drop-off boxes remain available in the lobbies of police departments in Berkeley Heights, Clark, Cranford, Fanwood, Garwood, Hillside, Kenilworth, Linden, Mountainside, New Providence, Plainfield, Rahway, Roselle, Roselle Park, Scotch Plains, Springfield, Summit, Union, Westfield, Winfield. Additional drop off locations will be available in the lobbies of the Union County Sheriff’s Office, the Union County Police Department, the Kean University Police Department, and the Union County Prosecutor’s Office.