SPARTA, NJ – The state attorney general’s office has issued a preliminary report on an incident in which an off-duty state trooper fired shots at a fleeing automobile, which he suspected contained three alleged burglars early Saturday morning in Sparta.
According to the report, one shot struck the front tire of the vehicle. No one was injured and “no criminal charges have been filed at this time against anyone involved.”
The Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team continues to investigate the incident involving New Jersey State Trooper Kissenger Barreau that took place between 1:30 and 2 a.m. near his home on Whispering Woods Lane. The report declines to confirm the identity of the trooper nor the young men involved.
The trooper and his wife were awakened, according to the report, “by the sound of three young men knocking at their front door,” corroborating reports previously published by TAP into Sparta. The report continues, “The trooper went downstairs to investigate, armed with a personal handgun.”
As previously reported, the trooper had a verbal exchange and the three young men, Matt Mayer, John Baker and Jesse Barkhorn decided to flee. The three men had mistakenly knocked on the door and rang the bell of what they thought was a friend’s house.
The report says Barreau identified himself as a trooper. This is the one statement that conflicts with what Mayer and Baker have claimed.
The Attorney General’s report sheds light as to the reason Trooper Barreau chased the young men. It says, “The trooper said he suspected the men had been trying to enter his home,” so he chased them as they ran to their car.
The report continues to corroborate statements made by Mayer and Lindsey Baker to TAP into Sparta, The three young men, in an effort to leave the area, drove away, “turning around in the cul de sac at the end of the street.” They had to drive past the trooper’s house again to leave the neighborhood. It was at that point, the “trooper entered the road in an attempt to stop the vehicle.”
As the car continued past the trooper’s house, toward Sterling Hill Road, without stopping, trooper Baurreau “fired three rounds from his gun.” The report continues, “One round struck the front wheel of the vehicle,” causing it to become disabled a short distance away on Butternut Way, as reported on TAP.
The report says (Baker) called his mother and then the local police to report the shooting. When the Sparta police responded, two of the three, Baker and Barkorn, both 18, were detained. Mayer, 19, fled but was later taken into custody by Sparta police.
The Attorney General’s report corroborates the statement made by Mayer and Baker that they “were in the area to attend a party and mistakenly believed the trooper’s home was the house of a friend.”
The matter remains under investigation through the Attorney General’s Shooting Response team, comprised of deputy attorneys general, detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice and detectives of the State Police Major Crime Unit.
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