Suspect in custody after Elizabeth police officer fires round from service weapon

A local man is in custody and facing criminal charges following an incident in which an Elizabeth Police Department officer fired a single round from his service weapon after the suspect produced an illegally possessed handgun of his own last night, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo announced Saturday.

The suspect, identified as Cesar Garcia-Lemus, 19, of Elizabeth, is charged with two second-degree weapons offenses.

At approximately 10 p.m. Friday, Elizabeth Police Department patrol units were dispatched to the 400 block of Vine Street, according to the preliminary investigation. Garcia-Lemus produced a .38-caliber handgun when one of the responding officers ordered him to stop.

An officer then fired a single round from his service weapon, and Garcia-Lemus immediately discarded his handgun and was taken into custody without further incident. No one was struck by gunfire or injured, and the handgun brandished by Garcia-Lemus was recovered at the scene.

The Shooting Response Team (SRT) of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office is continuing to investigate the circumstances behind this matter, in accordance with New Jersey Office of the Attorney General Directive 2006-05 (amended 2015).

Garcia-Lemus is being lodged in the Union County Jail pending a first appearance and detention hearing to take place in Superior Court. Anyone with information about this matter is being urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Sgt. Vito Colacitti at 908-527-4670 or Detective Rudolfo Correia at 908-418-5800.

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