Essex County man convicted in Elizabeth armed robbery-turned-shooting

A Union County jury has returned guilty verdicts on six counts filed against a local resident who attempted to rob and then shot a man outside an Elizabeth liquor store last year, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Friday.

Gary Jones, 45, of Newark was convicted on charges including first-degree robbery, two second-degree weapons offenses, third-degree assault with bodily injury using a deadly weapon, fourth-degree pointing a firearm, and fourth-degree obstruction of justice following a weeklong trial before state Superior Court Judge Daniel R. Lindemann and jury deliberations spread over 90 minutes on Thursday.

At approximately 9:30 p.m. on Friday, January 27, 2017, the robbery victim was exiting Gail’s Wine & Spirits on Broad Street near Elizabeth’s downtown train station when he was confronted by a man later identified as Jones, who brandished a handgun and demanded money, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutors Kathleen Dillon and Diana-Marie Laventure-Smith, who prosecuted the case.

The victim attempted to walk away, at which time Jones shot him in the leg, Dillon and Laventure-Smith said. Injured, the victim ran to flag down nearby Elizabeth Police Department officers ,who then engaged Jones in a brief foot pursuit.

Jones refused to drop his handgun despite orders from the responding officers, who were forced to wrestle it away from him before taking him into custody.  

“Knowing they were pursuing an armed suspect who had just shot someone, these officers exhibited remarkable courage and professionalism in preventing any further violence by this defendant,” Prosecutor Monahan said.

Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for Friday, September 21, 2018, at which time Joneswho is subject to an extended term due to his 11 prior convictions on crimes including burglary, aggravated assault, theft, eluding police, receiving stolen property, and resisting arrest, among others – is expected to face a sentence of 20 years to lifein state prison.