HOBOKEN, NJ - Scary moments early Friday, as a gun-grabbing car burglar fought with Hoboken Police Officers.

According to Hoboken Police, Sergeant Donald Rosso was on patrol near the Hoboken/Jersey City border, just before 2:30 a.m. when he observed an individual, later identified as Lonnie Clarke, 38, Jersey City, break into the trunk of a parked 2019 BMW.

The burglar fled north towards the Observer Highway Firehouse, and after a four-block foot pursuit, Officers Christopher Barral, Josh Campoverde and Sgt. Rosso, stopped the suspect at 56 Jefferson St.

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At that time a violent struggle ensued as the suspect fought the officers. Lieutenant Mike Costello, Sergeant Anthony Russo, and Officer Jesse Castellano arrived to assist with the attempted apprehension. During this struggle, the suspect is said to have grabbed Officer Barral’s gun and began to remove it from his holster.

Barral began to yell “He has my gun” repeatedly as Barral used all his strength to keep the suspect from gaining sole control of the firearm. Sgt. Russo and Officer Campoverde struggled to try to keep the suspect from gaining full possession of the weapon. After a long struggle and the use of mechanical force, the officers were finally able to secure Barral’s weapon but the suspect continued his fight, attempting to grab the holsters of Sgt. Russo and Officer Campoverde. The officers were finally able to get the suspect handcuffed.

During the handcuffing, the suspect allegedly bit Sgt. Russo on the shin.

Lt. Costello, Officer Campoverde and Officer Barral all sustained injuries during the arrest. Costello and Campoverde were cleared to resume work on their next shift while Officer Barral is out injured due to a hand injury which will be re-assessed in three weeks.

“I cannot find the exact words that can adequately describe how proud I am of the valor, courage and professionalism showed by these officers during this scene. They all showed the true restraint from using deadly force, and they deserve the utmost credit for being able to accomplish this apprehension without using it, and without seriously injuring the suspect,” stated Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante. “Everyone needs to realize this criminal act, during a pandemic and State of Emergency, not only threatened the lives of the officers involved, but also brought extra exposures to those officers, the EMS workers who had to treat the suspect and officers, the Emergency Room staff who had to tend to them when there is so much more going on in there, the officers who then had to secure the suspect at the hospital, and then the officers who had to transport the individual to the Hudson County Correctional and Rehabilitation Facility in Kearny, and then those Corrections Officers who had to process him at the Jail’s Intake.”

Clark was charged with:

  • Burglary – 2C:18-2a

  • Theft – 2C:20-3a

  • Obstructing by Flight – 2C:29-1

  • Resisting Arrest by Force – 2C:29-2a(3)(a)

  • Disarming a Law Enforcement Officer – 2C:12-11a

  • Aggravated Assault of Law Enforcement Officer – 2C:12-1b(5)a

Shared with permission by hMAG

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