Authorities Arrest ‘Person Of Interest’ In Drive-By Shooting That Killed Newark Cop

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A 19-year-old man was arrested Friday in connection with a drive-by shooting that killed an off-duty Newark, N.J., police officer who was getting a slice of pizza at a neighborhood fast-food place, though a second suspect who is believed to be the shooter remained at large.

Rasul McNeil-Thomas was arrested at his home in Newark on Friday. He was charged with carjacking, conspiracy and weapons offenses and was being held on $300,000 bail. There was no immediate word on whether he had an attorney.

Officer William Johnson, 45, was hit and gravely wounded inside the Texas Fried Chicken at the corner of Clinton Place and Lyons Avenue around 10 p.m., on Thursday. Authorities said someone drove up to the restaurant, fired shots and then sped away.

Funeral bunting was displayed Friday at Newark Police headquarters, and Mayor Cory Booker was visibly moved, reports CBS 2’s John Slattery.

“This is a punishing, penetrating pain that we all are feeling right now,” he said.

“A vehicle emerged outside and fired from outside into the restaurant, where Johnson and two others were struck,” Acting Police Director Samuel DeMaio said.

A 21-year-old man was wounded in the stomach and was in stable condition at University Hospital.

A 19-year-old at the restaurant with her toddler was struck in the shoulder. She was released from the hospital by Friday morning. Her child was not wounded.

Authorities said Friday it doesn’t appear Johnson was the target of the shooting. Police said there were more people in the fast-food place than the three who were shot, and one of them may have been the intended target.

1010 WINS’ John Montone reports: Residents React To Newark Shooting Of Off-Duty Cop

“We don’t have any reason to believe that any of the three who were hit were targeted, but we believe someone in the restaurant was the target of the shooting,” DeMaio said.

Police are trying to track down witnesses or anyone who may have seen anything, including the dark-colored van that sped away. Officials said the shooting was caught on tape by a camera inside the restaurant, and that authorities were reviewing the footage.

DeMaio said the video shows the shooting happened so quickly that Johnson would not have had time to draw a weapon.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports: Murder Of A Police Officer

Overnight, his family and fellow police officers rushed to University Hospital to be by his side, as doctors frantically tried to keep him alive.

Johnson was a 16-year veteran of the force, lived in Newark and had two daughters.

“Officer Johnson has served the people of Newark bravely and honorably for 16 years,” acting Essex County prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray said in a statement. “Sadly, his life ended on the very streets where he worked to serve and protect others.”

“I’m very upset about it, really,” neighbor Mary Wright said.

“Good officer, well-liked. Everybody liked him. Quiet, church-going officer,” Newark Police Sgt. David Burgo said. “We’ve all got family, all got kids, all want to go home. It’s terrible. We’re in shock.”

“Whenever any innocent person is shot it cuts at the core of our community, it is an agony that cannot be expressed,” Mayor Booker said. “We as a community will not let this lie.”

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney: He Was Off-Duty, Buying Pizza

The Police Benevolent Association and the Essex County Sheriff’s Office had offered a reward totaling $20,000 for information that leads to a conviction.

Is Newark getting more or less dangerous? Sound off in our comments section below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More from John Montone
  • Alex Parker

    Dude, this isn’t about race. A human being was MURDERED! A hardworking man who contributed to society was murdered and your posting racial statistics about black americans? Why? Because the officer was black? That’s terrible

  • Robert Gumbs

    I am a veteran – I am also a black/Left-Wing Democrat.

    What blacks have allowed to happen to their communities is insane. We have young men and women that have no respect for themselves – if they have no respect for themselves – how can they respect anyone else? I know all about the history of racism and slavery in America. If we respected our history we wouldn’t be acting like animals in our communities – same problem with education some things we have to heal for ourselves.

  • Tyler Williams

    Well the whites have spent over 400 hundred years showing the “blacks” & other minorities in America how to murder & commit crimes against humanity & civility! Including funding the drug trade & social inequalities that take years of determination & perseverance for even 1 minority to break through the boundaries & road blocks set before them. How about posting those statistics?All races & individuals alike deal with some form of personal or inner disfunctionality, due to the sinful of mankind itself. For some it may be violence, for others greed, others sexual perversion, etc. So it is foolish to sterotype an entire race of people for any reason. Statistics do not necessarily show the varying factors that contribute to crime among a particular demographic or community. Your time would be better served, researching those facts & helping keep that information in front of those with the authority to make the changes that will positively effect our communities!

    • sandy

      stop with the excuses

    • hackergo

      excuses excuses …your culture is uncivilized garbage…face it…you can lipstick on a pig but it’s still a PIG!

    • Pablo

      Blacks are always the victims! when they killed or do something negative in society, they always have an excuse ready to justify that behavior. They never have any responsibility and I am getting tired of this. I came to USA from South America about 20 years ago. At first, i used to feel sorry for them because of slavery, but now, after seeing all the terrible crimes, rapes, killings committed by many blacks , I am disgusted by them. People in my country still feel sorry for them. When i tell them that many blacks in USA are a menace to society because do not work, steal, kill, etc, they still do not believe it. Then i tell my friends in my country to come and live in USA and experience the atrocities committed by blacks. I HAVE NEVER SEEN A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHERE SO MANY OF ITS MEMBERS COMMIT SO MANY CRIMES. And I am not talking about crimes against white people only. I am talking about heinous crimes against other blacks, chinese, latino, etc. With each passing year, i am becoming more convinced that this problem has no solution since blacks still use the same excuses like racism, slavery or whatever to justify their evil crimes. They will never accept full responsibility for their actions because doing so would show them that they alone are the ones to blame for their unproductive conduct.

  • JasonS

    With each passing year I just become more and more disgusted with these filthy sub-human ghetto monkey savages and am beginning to think that they will not and cannot civilize. Not one more penny of taxpayer’s money to them. Just throw these simians into a big pit and fill it in.

  • steve

    When does it all end?

  • Reitired det.'s son

    That cityis a basket case. It is not fit for God, man, beast nor the devil;. My prayers are for his repose and for his familiy’s comfort. That city should be bombed PERIOD. It is not seving any use. Neither are its people. Their schools produce nothing good.

    • hackergo

      FLAMETHROWERS THRU EACH HOOD! take the working people out kill the welfare spawn and their thug offspring (yeah shocking that we feel this way isn’t it…but its the TRUTH! sick of your BS pig ways)

  • carlrosen

    Azza troof!

  • carlrosen

    I dank det da doodt who shots da po-lee shuttin be rested f’shootin him on asstident. Yah know det da doodt wuz shootin at sum udda doodt, yo! Jus aks hiam. “Wuz you shootin atda po-lee?” He say :Nuh- de uh uh. Oz shooting etda udda doodt ova day, yo.”

  • Re-Tired Officer

    May God look over this brave mans family & friends during this tough time and know he is already looking down on all of you to walk you through the pain and suffering so you may remember the good times. They will come and help you get through this. Try not to waste your energy and the distractions that caused this disaster, and it is a disaster. God will take care of the rest. May Gods Peace be with you all.
    God, Bless this man, his family & friends during this tough time and help them get through thier future days and nights. Help them remember what he stood for as a man, person and friend and bring peace to their souls. Amen.

  • Beverly Thomas

    May the peace of God and the goodwill of all surround this officers family,friends and comrades in arms. My prayers go out to all of you.

  • Gregory

    I hope that the peice of human garbage that did this is promptly caught. If he is an illegal alien, arrest and deport his entire family. Enough of the liberal, progressive claptrap that keeps ciminals on the streets. Have a Death Penalty and enforce it.

    May God rest this officer and console his family.

  • capt bill's daughter

    my condolences to officer johnson’s families – wife, children, and the members of the long blue line. my dad was nypd for 34 years, and i share the sorrow and anger you feel. someone else was targeted, but when they catch the lowlife responsible for this murder, justice should be more painful than a needle in the arm, a few difficult breaths, and then no more. you are hunted creep, you will be found, and the hammer of justice will come down on you. final roll call answered. rest in peace.

    • carlrosen

      He’s not an illegal alien. He’s a Zulu or Masai who’s descendants love a good war. They paint their faces and put plates in their lilps. It’s the white man’s fault for enslaving the African man. The chickens is coming home to roost, yo! Now it’s time for whitey to suffer for fo hunnit yee-uz.

  • Ellen

    What a tragedy, My deepest sympathy and prayers go out to his family ring now, RIP Officer Johnson.

  • JOE

    What a wast of a good person. What are you going to do the man wanted to have a bite to eat and he gets killed. Feel pain for his family. may god take care you officer.



    • The Facts

      The problem is not with the NRA (National Rifle Association of America) and the millions of law-abiding gun owners of this country. The problem is with the criminals who use illegal guns which they steal or buy on the black market. There appears to be a lack of political will to actually enforce the many gun laws we already have against the criminals in our midst. Sentencing by liberal/progressive judges is often a joke.

  • stephi

    Maybe why there is a lot of illegal guns on the streets the wimpy politicans are scared because if they a pass a law the ACLU will cry its unconstitution. The ACLU are communist. By the way, who is funding the ACLU? Is it my tax dollars? If it is, cut it off. Let people like Sean Penn and Michael Moore and their kind support them and not my tax dollars. The ACLU went to court in Florida for a muslim women who didn’t want to show her face for her drivers license even after they told her that a women would take her picture. Obey the laws of this country or get the hell out. Love it or leave it. And this doesn’t only go for muslims. Mr. Penn. Mr. Moore and I use the term Mr loosely.

    • hackergo

      you’re an IDIOT! why take my gun when the criminals don’t get theirs by legal channels!!!

  • Peter

    All they have to do is find the shooter and kill him. God bless this man and his family. What a shame.

  • nyc

    Hundreds of thousands of Illegal guns on the streets of NY and NY. Why can’t someone get a handle on where all of these weapons are coming from ? I believe in owning a weapon legally. It appears that it’s easier to buy an Illegal gun then find a job ! Now that is sad !

    • carlrosen

      Legal gun or not ain got nuthin to do wit it. It’s owl a bat hooby da badt doodt. If Keshawn shoot him a po-lee, day-f0 (therefore) hebe da badt doodt, yo! If Jaquan shoot him a Crip ownda cona (on the corner), hebe da badt doodt!

      Translation: Legal gun or not doesn’t have to do anything with it. It’s all about who is the bad dude. If Keshawn shoots a police officer, therefore he is the bad dude. If Jaquan shoots a Rip on the corner, he is the bad dude!

  • jack jacomo

    I was flying once and I was told that my flight to JFK, was cancelled but that I could fly into NEWARK. I told the ticket agent NO, and the agent replied, “good choice!” I wait 3 hours in Atlanta for another flight into JFK. “Give me a slice, and hold the bullets”

    • LG

      Oh yeah…there’s no violent crime in NYC…

  • Knucklehead

    Hey Pol, ur a d–k. His life is over and his children will never be the same. And I’ll bet that you would be the first one to call 911 when it takes a man to stand up and be a man.

  • osn412

    this article is deep

  • osn412

    hahaha u silly

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