Irvington: Officer shot, man killed in spree

April 23, 2008 5:35:38 AM PDT
In New Jersey, there's been an arrest in connection with a string of early morning shootings that left one man dead and two others wounded-- including a police sergeant. The violence erupted around 3:00 a.m. Sunday in Irvington.

Eyewitness News reporter Kemberly Richardson is at the police department with the latest.

Twenty seven year-old Shaquan Johnson is now in custody, charged with aggravated assault on a police officer. Another victim of today's violent spree, Gary Farrar, Jr. He had just reached a milestone, graduating from Rutgers in December. His family was so proud, couldn't wait to see him receive his diploma next month: Plans suddenly ended by this violence.

Courtney Hazelwood was looking forward to marrying Gary Farrar, Jr. one day. So in love with so much ahead of them. But early this morning, someone shattered their dreams, fatally shooting the 22-year-old outside of his home on 18th Avenue in Irvington.

"He texted me and let me know he was home last night," Hazlewood said through tears Sunday, "at around 2:50 (a.m.) or something. And after that I just went to sleep."

Farrar had just graduated from Rutgers University, where he studied graphic design. His grandmother said he was a quiet person who also worked with his father at the family's landscaping business.

"I know my child was not mixed up in all this crazy stuff in here," she said. "This foolishness has got to stop. It's too painful. It's too painful."

Police believe whoever killed Farrar also opened fire on two others in the area: Three seemingly unrelated shootings in less than five minutes.

The suspect drove in an SUV toward a car on Eastern Parkway and fired, hitting the driver in the wrist. Detectives say he then drove around the corner and shot Farrar in the neck, and ended his spree on Grove Street, pulling up to a marked police car.

"He said 'Officer, I believe there's a man shot at 18th Avenue,'" says Chief Michael Chase of Irvington Police Department. "At that point he produced his firearm."

In all the chaos and confusion, there may have been a mixup: Farrar's mother held her son in her arms until he died. Relatives say help was slow to arrive.

"It took 45 minutes for the police," his grandmother said. "And over an hour for the ambulance."

The police chief maintains the investigators will look into those claims. As for the injured officer, a 24-year veteran, that officer was shot in the hip. He is expected to recover.