MANVILLE, NEW JERSEY — An off-duty police officer awoke to the sounds of a man rummaging through his home. He got up and confronted the suspect and a struggle ensued. During the struggle, the officer used his handgun to shoot the man in the chest. He immediately began CPR to try to keep the intruder alive until emergency first responders could arrive. Upon arrival, they took over and stabilized the suspect.
A police investigation into the shooting yielded multiple leads into other burglaries and vehicle robberies that the main suspect had previously committed but had not been formally charged, according to New Jersey Advance Media.
The suspect has been identified as Tyreek Cook, 19. He is listed in critical condition and is the hospital under armed police guard until he is stable enough to move to jail to await trial. Cook has been charged with robbery in the third degree. He may face other charges if any fingerprints he provided can be linked to the other burglaries and robberies he is suspected of committing.
The officer was also taken to the hospital for superficial wounds associated with the struggle and for post traumatic stress treatment. He is expected to make a full recovery but has been put on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation.
In the State of New Jersey, there is surprisingly no duty to retreat when a person is inside his or her own home or vehicle.
via the New Jersey Self-Defense Law
“…the “New Jersey Self-Defense Law,” authorizes a person to use force, including deadly force, against an intruder or attacker in a dwelling, residence or occupied vehicle in those instances where the actor reasonably fears imminent peril of death or serious bodily harm.”
This is actually WAY more progressive than I would have guessed, coming from New Jersey. So long as the intruder exhibits an intent to commit harm — which happened in this case — than the individual will not be prosecuted for exercising force, including deadly force, in his own defense.
However, most people in New Jersey probably don’t have a gun. That’s a political process unto itself. An off-duty police officer certainly would. This robber just happened to pick the one house, amongst the several he is suspected of burglarizing before, that had an armed occupant who was trained and capable of defending himself with a handgun.
Bad luck, right?
In states where guns are more commonly owned by citizens, burglars have a lot more work to do to find the home where there isn’t an armed homeowner. In almost every state, you are justified in defending yourself and your family from an intruder. That’s natural law that almost every state concedes that it must exist.
Good job to the officer and we’re all pulling for him to make a swift recovery. To the rest, remember to keep that gun close while you’re home for the evening. You never know when you’ll need it.