Grand jury indicts Newark police officer in deadly shooting during pursuit

Posted: Updated:
NEWARK -

A grand jury has indicted a Newark police officer in a deadly shooting during a police pursuit.

Essex County officials say that Jovanny Crespo was indicted on six charges: aggravated manslaughter, aggravated assault, two counts of second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and two counts of official misconduct.

The indictment comes from an investigation into the deadly shooting of 45-year-old Gregory Griffin on Jan. 28. Officials say that a Newark police officer stopped Griffin and his passenger 35-year-old Andrew Dixon during a traffic stop. But the men fled the scene. The officer apparently reported that she spotted a handgun in Griffin’s vehicle.

This prompted a police pursuit.

Officials say that Crespo joined in the pursuit and “on three separate occasions” fired shots at the fleeing vehicle.

RELATED: Prosecutors probe Newark police shooting that killed 1, critically injured another 

Griffin and Dixon were shot multiple times, with Griffin succumbing to his injuries.

Authorities say that a gun and hollow-point bullets were found in Griffin's vehicle.

Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore Stephens says that it is the state’s position that Crespo’s actions were criminal.

“He showed a reckless disregard for human life for shooting into a moving vehicle – a vehicle which had heavily tinted windows,” says Stephens.

Crespo was taken into custody Tuesday evening and will remain in jail until a detention hearing.

The prosecutor says that this is the first time in recent memory that a police officer in Essex County has been charged with criminal conduct resulting from the execution of police duties.

“I take no pleasure in making this announcement, but in this case, as in every case, we must go where the law, the facts and the evidence take us,” Stephens says.

Crespo was with the Newark Police Department for nearly two years prior to the shooting.

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