EAST ORANGE, NJ - On Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 3:45 pm, the East Orange Division of Police Communications Division received an anonymous tip that two males were observed exchanging a handgun in the area of Park Avenue and North Walnut Street, city officials said.
This information was immediately broadcast to patrol units in the field and several School Resource Officers who were in the area began a search for suspects fitting the provided description.
Both suspects were observed by these officers in the area of 112 North Walnut Street. As the officers approached both suspects, the first suspect eluded police after fleeing south on North Walnut Street and then east on Summit Street. The second suspect — who was observed to be in possession of a handgun — fled into an open lot on North Walnut Street while being pursued by two additional officers. During this pursuit, the suspect disregarded commands to stop and instead turned and discharged his weapon in the direction of the pursuing officers as he continued to flee.
The officers continued to pursue this suspect without firing their weapons. The suspect eventually discarded his weapon and was shortly apprehended without further incident.
Both Mayor Lester E. Taylor III and Public Safety Director Sheilah Coley commended the officers for exercising great restraint under the circumstances. “Rather than responding with gunfire, these officers relied on their tactical training and employed sound judgement to de-escalate a situation that easily could have turned out tragically,” said Mayor Taylor.
The suspect’s handgun was recovered by the pursuing officers. Further investigation identified the alleged suspect as Anthony P. Mitchell, 20, of East Orange, who was charged with two counts of aggravated assault, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a weapon, receiving stolen property and resisting arrest. Bail has been set at $200,000.
If anyone has further information on this incident, please call the EOPD Tips Line at call 973.266.5041.