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Secaucus police officers not charged in 2019 fatal standoff

Secaucus police officers involved in the fatal 2019 standoff will not face charges.
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Secaucus police officers involved in the fatal 2019 standoff will not face charges.

A state grand jury has voted not to file criminal charges at the conclusion of its deliberations regarding the death of Anthony Rosso, 68, of Secaucus. Rosso was armed with a gun and died during an encounter with officers of the Secaucus Police Department on Dec. 1, 2019.

As required by statute, all fatal officer-involved encounters must be presented to a grand jury.

‘No bill’

The fatal police encounter was investigated by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) and presented to 16 to 23 New Jersey residents on the grand jury. The investigation included interviews of witnesses; review of a 911 recording; collection of forensic evidence; ballistics testing; and autopsy results from the medical examiner.

After hearing testimony and evidence from the investigation, the grand jury concluded its deliberations on July 19 and voted “no bill.” This meant a majority of grand jurors found the actions of the officers who fired upon Rosso were not the cause of his death, and no charges should be filed against them.

The Administrative Office of the Courts recently authorized the resumption of in-person grand juries, which had been suspended during the COVID pandemic. Now that in-person grand jury presentations are permitted, OPIA will present the many completed investigations of fatal police encounters that were pending due to the pandemic, which included this case.

The fatal standoff

Officers of the SPD responded to a residence in the 300 block of Sea Isle Key in the Harmon Cove development after a 911 call was received at approximately 5:41 p.m. on Dec. 1, 2019, reporting a domestic incident with a shot fired. Officers encountered Rosso, who was outside the residence and armed with a handgun.

During the incident, Rosso fired his gun, and multiple police officers returned fire, grazing Rosso in the arm. Rosso was fatally wounded by a self-inflicted gun shot to the head, according to the Attorney General.

Emergency medical personnel responded and rendered aid, but Rosso was pronounced dead at the scene at 7:14 p.m. The Medical Examiner ruled the manner of death to be suicide.

No one else was injured. Members of the Hudson County Regional SWAT Team also responded, arriving at the scene after the officer-involved gunfire. Ballistics in this case indicated that five rounds were fired by Rosso and 16 rounds were fired by the three officers.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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