SPARTA, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The New Jersey Attorney General’s office has assigned a team to investigate, after a state trooper fired at three unarmed teenagers who knocked on his door.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, Sparta resident Linda Marasco and her older son Andrew were trying to make sense of the danger her 18-year-old son, John, found early Sunday morning at the home owned by state Trooper Kissinger Barreau in Sparta, Sussex County.
“I just don’t understand why these kind of things happen in the first place – I guess that’s all I’m saying,” Marasco said. “I just don’t understand it.”
John Marasco and two other teenagers — one identified as Jesse Barkhorn — mistakenly knocked on Barreau’s door at 1:30 a.m., looking for a friend who actually lives next door.
According to the office of Acting Attorney General John Hoffman: “The trooper went downstairs to investigate, armed with a personal handgun. After a verbal exchange through the door, the three young men fled.”
The young men told investigators they noticed a laser dot penetrating the darkness as they were leaving, and they realized someone with a laser sight on a firearm was targeting them.
Three shots hit their car as they drove away.
“I just heard: ‘Pow! Pa-pow!’ and the sound of a car driving off, and that was it,” said neighbor Vince Bel.
No one was hurt, but police took the young men into custody after the trooper claimed he suspected they had tried to enter his home.
According to the Attorney General’s office, Trooper Barreau “said he identified himself as a trooper.” But the young men denied hearing that.
“It doesn’t matter, you know, if you’re in law enforcement or not,” said Andrew Marasco. “You shouldn’t be able to fire your gun whenever you want.”
Trooper Barreau remained on active duty Wednesday while his actions were being reviewed. No one answered the door when CBS2’s Aiello stopped by.