EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) –– New Jersey State officials dedicated a monument Wednesday in remembrance of a state trooper who was killed in the line of duty more than forty years ago.
“We honor him, we honor his family,” Colonel Rick Fuentes said.
A 1973 shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike killed state Trooper Werner Foerster and left Trooper James Harper seriously injured.
“It was a horrible atrocity,” General John Hoffman told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney. “The story behind this is gruesome.”
Joanne Chesimard, who was described by the FBI as a member of the Black Liberation army, was convicted of killing Foerster in 1977 and sentenced to life in prison. Chesimard escaped from prison in 1979 and made her way to Cuba, where she was granted asylum by Fidel Castro.
She currently lives under the name Assata Shakur, and was added to the the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List in 2013. The FBI and state police are offering $2 million for information leading to her capture.
“It’s still an open wound,” Fuentes said.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie proposed blocking flights out of Newark Liberty International Airport to Cuba until Chesimard is returned to the United States to face trial. The proposal has been debated by experts on how it would affect the state’s economy.
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