Shoplifter killed after NJ cops were wrongly told suspect was wanted for murder
DEPTFORD — The officer who fatally shot a shoplifting suspect as she attempted to flee the scene will not face charges, even as the investigation into the shooting determined police were given bad information about the people involved.
The shooting happened on June 9 when police were called to the Marshalls store on a report that three people were shoplifting. The suspects were eventually identified as Raoul Gadson, Chanel Barnes and Lashanda Anderson. A loss prevention officer at the store told the dispatcher that he knew the three from prior incidents and said one of them was wanted for manslaughter, according to the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office.
When police arrived at the scene they were told that one of the three was a "hit" for a "homicide," the prosecutor's office reported. But the prosecutor's office confirmed on Thursday that none of the three were wanted for a homicide at the time.
The situation ended with Anderson fatally wounded, Barnes in custody and Gadson fleeing on foot, though he would be taken into custody a few days later. Sgt. Kevin Clements was identified as the officer who fired at Anderson's vehicle as she drove toward him, witnesses told investigators.
Police said the driver ignored police commands to stop and drove at the officer, making him fear for his safety.
After Clements fired three shots, the vehicle went through the parking lot before going onto an access road that was 4 feet lower than the parking lot, which caused the airbag to deploy, the prosecutor's office said. Anderson died from two gunshot wounds, one to the left side of her head and one to her elbow, according to the prosecutor's office.
When Gadson was arrested he was charged with robbery and other offenses. Barnes was released from the hospital the night of the crash and taken into custody when she was charged with shoplifting.
The announcement that Clements was cleared in a use of force inquiry comes the day after another police-involved shooting investigation continued. Police on a surveillance operation in Vineland earlier this month fatally shot one of the suspects in a Cape May County crime.
Detective John Caccia was identified as the officer that shot 19-year-old Jacob Servais, according to Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. Caccia fired his gun three times. He has not been cleared in the investigation, which Grewal said will now focus on whether Servais resisted Caccia, or was armed during the incident.