NJ AG upholds Toms River cops’ justification in 2016 non-fatal shooting
Findings that Toms River police officers were legally justified in firing their service weapons during a roadside investigation in July 2017, are affirmed by New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino's office.
Timothy Sauers was hit by multiple rounds and jumped into the Toms River, after allegedly pulling an air pistol that resembed an actual gun on three officers on July 7.
Authorities said that Sauers has since recovered, and remains lodged in the Ocean County Jail, charged with unlawful possession of a handgun, aggravated assault on an officer, and possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose..
Ocean County investigators described the firearm as qualifying for legal classification as a handgun by virtue of design, semi-automatic, with a pistol grip.
According to investigators, the first officer, on routine patrol, approached a shirtless Sauers for being illegally parked on Haines Road at Cedar Drive.
The patrolman, checking Sauers's license, told him that he could return to his Jeep, as two more officers arrived. A dispatch operator alerted them to an active warrant issued in South Toms River.
As the three approached the Jeep, Sauers emerged and pointed the handgun at them, authorities said. The lead officer yelled "Gun," dropped to the pavement and fired along with the others, who set up behind a squad car. Sauers jumped into the river, triggering a search.
Investigators said that, speaking to Ocean County Detective John Murphy, Sauers acknowledged suicidal thoughts and admitted brandishing the gun in the expectation of being killed.
They went on to state that a text Sauers sent to his ex-girlfriend from the Jeep bears out his comments to Murphy, reading, "...I got a cop here right now [.] watch its bout to be on the...news..." Authorities added that Sauers had texted the same woman an image of him, gun held to his own head, a day earlier.
Charges are accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless, and until, found guilty in a court of law.