CRANBURY, NJ – Police said Friday that Christopher Angelo Pizzichetta, 46, of Lewes, Delaware, was the man a State Trooper shot and killed yesterday afternoon at the Molly Pitcher Service Area on the New Jersey Turnpike.
According to a press release from State Attorney General Christopher Porrino, five state troopers in four unmarked cars were conducting an undercover narcotics investigation operations at the service area around 2:45 p.m. Thursday.
The operations targeted narcotics and other illegal activity at the rest stop, the release said.
One of the troopers saw Pizzichetta parked in his pickup truck at the north end of the parking area, away from other vehicles, where he appeared to be “shooting up” heroin, the release said.
The troopers moved their vehicles to be near the pickup truck to observe Pizzichetta when he moved his truck to a remote area in the south end of the parking lot.
Troopers implemented a plan to approach the truck and prevent it from leaving the lot by blocking it with three of their units, including a Chevy Silverado.
Police said that Pizzichetta attempted to flee, backing his pickup truck into one of the police vehicles, an SUV, and then driving forward into the Silverado.
The police vehicles activated their lights and sirens and pursued Pizzichetta as he sped toward the exit road of the service area, police said.
Police said that Pizzichetta cut across the median instead of using the exit road and that he sped up, trying to hit a trooper who was on foot.
Witnesses told police the trooper was “clearly identifiable” as a police officer as Pizzichetta’ truck bore down on him.
The trooper then fired multiple shots through the pickup truck’s windshield, hitting the upper part of Pizzichetta’s body, police said.
The pickup truck continued a short distance and crashed into a concrete retaining wall.
Police said that Pizzichetta was pronounced dead at the scene.
The troopers recovered a syringe and several containers of what police believe to be heroin from the pickup truck, according to the release.
None of the troopers were injured during the incident, but the trooper that fired his weapon was taken to the hospital for evaluation in line with standard procedures, police said.
The incident closed the service area for several hours Thursday.
Police are not releasing any further details about the shooting due to the ongoing investigation, police said.
The Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team is handling the case, the release said.
Under an Attorney General Directive, the Shooting Response Team, made up of deputy attorneys general, detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice, and detectives of the State Police Homicide Unit, are dispatched to the scene to handle investigations of shootings involving state troopers or officers employed by county prosecutors as detectives/investigators or members of county emergency response teams and task forces, according to the release.
Did you like this story?
If you did like it, please share with your friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter, and don't forget to "Like" our Facebook Page!