Clifford Cooley, 38, has been criminally charged in connection with a shooting that took place in Rahway last fall, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo and Rahway Police Chief John Rodger jointly announced Friday. Cooley, a resident of Allentown, Pennsylvania, is charged with first-degree attempted murder, second-degree burglary, three related weapons offenses, and counts of second- and third-degree aggravated assault.
Shortly before 1 a.m. on Friday, November 8, 2019, Rahway Police Department patrol units rushed to a residence on the 1300 block of Fulton Street near the downtown train station where they found the adult shooting victim, who had sustained a facial injury, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Meghan Tomlinson, who is prosecuting the case.
A lengthy and exhaustive investigation led by Prosecutor’s Office Detective Michael Tambini, working with Rahway Police Detective Anthony Tilton, resulted in Cooley being identified as a suspect in the case, and he was criminally charged on Thursday, while in custody for unrelated crimes. He will remain incarcerated pending the scheduling of a first appearance and detention hearing to take place in Union County Superior Court.
“Gun violence represents an existential threat to our communities, which explains why, for every shooting that occurs anywhere in Union County, members of the Prosecutor’s Office work in tandem with our local police partners to solve these crimes,” Prosecutor Ruotolo said when announcing the arrest. She also thanked the investigators and assistant prosecutors of the Prosecutor’s Office’s Major Crimes Division, noting that “These are some of the hardest cases to work and prosecute – they take tedious attention to detail, a combination of modern and old school investigative skills, incredible collaboration across units and agencies, and a lot of patience and dedication.”
Convictions on first-degree crimes are commonly punishable by terms of 10 to 20 years in state prison.
These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.