PERTH AMBOY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A Perth Amboy, N.J. street turned into a crime scene Wednesday after a police officer shot and killed a man right in front of his house.
As CBS 2’s Lou Young reported, some have been questioning how it happened, and the man’s family has demanded answers.
The confrontation occurred shortly after 1:15 p.m. outside the Hall Avenue home where Dixon Rodriguez, 32, resided. A preliminary investigation indicated that two officers were speaking to Rodriguez when he attacked them with a knife and prompted the officers to fire, prosecutors said.
Rodriguez was pronounced dead at 1:50 p.m.
“You just hear the big pop, pop three times, and I’m like, ‘Oh my God!’ And when you turn around, he’s on the floor,” Amy, a witness, told 1010 WINS’ Holly Haerr. “And she (the officer) drops the gun, and she’s like, ‘I thought he had something in his hand.'”
Neighbors said Rodriguez often lingered on the sidewalk, with his hands jammed into his pockets. His aunt said he recently ran out of medication.
“My sister called me, and last night he don’t sleep,” said aunt Carmen Rodriguez.
Parts of the incident were captured on one or more surveillance cameras in the area. The equipment was confiscated by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s office.
“Nine-one-one was called. There were two officers who responded. They attempted to engage the subject,” said Acting Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey. “We can see there was a conversation. The suspect at one point attacked one of the officers, at which time shots were fired, and the person died subsequently.”
Prosecutors said the knife was found in Rodriguez’s hand. But his younger brother said he does not believe it.
“He did not have a weapon,” said Juan Kelison Rodriguez. As to reports that officers recovered a knife, he added: “I mean, hat’s they’re word, right? That’s why an investigation is being made.”
Witnesses told the family that one of the officers, a woman, seemed especially distraught after the shooting. Many seemed to think Rodriguez refused to remove his hands from his pockets when they asked for identification.
“She reacted, she reacted,” said neighbor Miguel Aquino. “But this guy wouldn’t even kill a fly.”
The officers involved in the incident were taken to Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, where they were being examined, police said. Neither was believed to have been seriously injured.
Prosecutors have one complete version of the surveillance video from across the street, and detectives have been searching for others.
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