Acting Prosecutor Robert Laurino announced today that Police Officer Veneziano has been in and out of consciousness and is due to have more surgery. He was shot multiple times, is in shock and severely traumatized. However, despite a breathing tube he has made a few limited communications regarding the shooting incident. He remains in critical but stable condition at UMDJ. Thus far he is our only witness and he is heavily medicated as a result of the life threatening injuries. However, we can confirm that he reported he was followed and believed to have been targeted by the suspects. By way of limited communications with Police Officer Veneziano, we believe he was followed from the Clifton area on Route 3 into Fairfield near 300 Fairfield Road. He was shot multiple times about 6:15 p.m. after he got out of his silver Volkswagen Passat and approached the suspect’s vehicle. He was not in uniform or wearing his bullet-proof vest at the time. Arriving officers responding to a 911 call about shots fired in the area and found Veneziano lying at the curb, bleeding and partially conscious. We can confirm that he did fire approximately 13 rounds at the suspects. We can not confirm if the suspects were hit.
Veneziano never provided the vehicle’s license plate number to a fellow officer before he was shot. He used his personal cell phone to call an on duty police officer to run the license plate, however, the officer was at a local restaurant attending to a choking victim and could not run the plate. As a result, Veneziano never gave the plate number to the officer. We can confirm that he did communicate the plate of the suspect vehicle was a New Jersey plate.
We are waiting until he becomes stronger before we can get more information from him.
We are assiduously pursuing all leads and shall leave no stone unturned. This evening members of the task force will be conducting a bullet trajectory reconstruction at the shooting location in Fairfield. We have assembled a multi-agency task force. The law enforcement agencies involved in the Task Force are: the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office is the lead agency, Fairfield Police Department, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, Essex County Sheriff’s Office, Newark Police Department, New Jersey State Police and the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
This is an on-going investigation. Anyone with information can call the Fairfield Tip Line at 973-227-1400.
A $45,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects. The agencies contributing to the reward are Essex County Crime Stoppers – $15,000(only for the arrest); National Police Detective Foundation – $10,000; Collision Restoration, Inc. $5,000 and New Jersey PBA – 10,000, East Hanover- $5,000.