TRENTON – Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced that a man has pleaded guilty to attempted murder for firing a handgun at plainclothes detectives from the Union County Prosecutor’s Office in 2015. The case was investigated by the Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team because another county detective fired two shots at the man during a subsequent foot chase, but did not hit him.
Diondre J. Quinones, 22, of Plainfield, pleaded guilty late Friday, March 24, to charges of first-degree attempted murder and second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon before Superior Court Judge Benjamin S. Bucca in Middlesex County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Quinones be sentenced to 10 years in state prison, including 8 ½ years of parole ineligibility under the No Early Release Act. He also pleaded guilty to an eluding charge filed by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and faces a three-year concurrent sentence on that charge. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 26.
Deputy Attorney General Philip J. Mogavero prosecuted Quinones and took the guilty plea for the Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team.
“By opening fire on county detectives, Quinones demonstrated that he is a violent man who poses a serious danger to law enforcement as well as the community at large,” said Attorney General Porrino. “This guilty plea will keep him safely behind bars.”
“Quinones not only was trafficking illegal guns, he was quick to use them,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Union County detectives made the community safer when they took Quinones off the street, and this plea ensures that he will remain off the street for years to come.”
Under the Attorney General’s Directive on Police-Use-of-Force Investigations, the incident was investigated by the Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team, made up of investigators from the Division of Criminal Justice and the New Jersey State Police Major Crime Unit. As a result of the investigation, Director Elie Honig of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice determined that presentation of the police-involved shooting to a grand jury was not required under the Directive, because the undisputed facts showed that the use of force was justifiable under the law.
The police-involved shooting occurred at about 10:15 p.m. on Sept. 1, 2015 in Plainfield. Detectives of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office had information that a man, later identified as Quinones, had a gun that he intended to sell in the area of the 600 block of East Second Street. Two plainclothes detectives in an unmarked vehicle went to the area to investigate. When Quinones spotted the detectives in the vehicle, he fired four shots at them from behind a tree in the 600 block of East Front Street. The detectives were not hit, but one bullet struck the windshield of the police vehicle in the lower corner on the passenger side. Quinones fled on foot.
Another detective from the Union County Prosecutor’s Office – the detective who ultimately fired at Quinones – subsequently located him several blocks away in the 200 block of Brook Avenue. The detective got out of his vehicle and there was a foot pursuit, during which the officer fired two shots at Quinones after Quinones allegedly pointed a handgun toward the officer. Quinones, who was not hit by the gunfire, was apprehended a short distance away. A partially loaded 9mm semiautomatic handgun was recovered by police along the route of the foot chase. Quinones has been held in the Union County Jail with bail set at $1 million.
All portions of the Attorney General’s Directive on Police-Use-of-Force Investigations which were in effect during the course of the investigation were complied with.
Defense Attorney: Michael A. Policastro, Esq., Milltown, N.J.