Police involved shooting inside Holland Tunnel

April 30, 2011 6:54:13 PM PDT
A police involved shooting inside the Holland Tunnel shutdown the inbound lanes for hours.

Investigators said it started around 6:10 p.m. Friday when a Jeep that had passed through the toll booth on the Jersey side of the Holland Tunnel.

Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman said two Port Authority police officers saw 19-year-old Jahaad Sanders of Brooklyn commit a motor vehicle violation.

"An encounter ensued between the car and the police officers. We believe four shots were fired at the entrance to the tunnel. A chase ensued into the tunnel," Police Superintendent Mike Fedorko said.

Witnesses say he then tried to use the vehicle as a weapon while driving inside the tunnel.

"The police officers came around and they were screaming stop! And then he took off with the police officer holding on, and after he got in front, he broke the wind of the police officer. He fired two shots into the car," Kevin Dempsey said.

At some point in the tunnel, officers fired again, hitting Sanders in the arm.

Police say Sanders got out of the Jeep and began running.

He was arrested after he jumped into the back seat of another vehicle, police said.

Sanders and his lone passenger, 24-year-old Lorenzo Dease of Brooklyn, were both taken to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan for treatment.

Coleman said two Port Authority police officers sustained minor injuries in the incident and were treated at Jersey City Medical Center and later released

Both inbound lanes of the Holland Tunnel remained closed until the early morning hours on Saturday as police investigated.

Law enforcement sources say they believe the men in the Jeep had just robbed a pharmacy.

Investigators said neither suspect was armed. It is unclear what led to this confrontation.

Sanders and Dease were both charged with criminal attempt, aggravated assault, carjacking, eluding, obstruction of governmental administration and resisting arrest. They also face charges of illegal possession of a weapon - the car - and possessing it for an unlawful purpose.

Bail was set Saturday at $350,000 cash for Sanders, while Dease's was set at $250,000 Both remained in custody, and it was not known if either had retained a lawyer.