A grand jury has indicted a New Jersey police officer on manslaughter charges more than a year after authorities said he shot and killed a homeowner who called 911 to report two burglars, the attorney general’s office said.
Mantua Township Police Officer Salvatore Oldrati shot Charles Sharp III several times in his front yard in Mantua Township, killing him in the early hours of Sept. 14, 2021, officials said.
Sharp, 49, had called 911 about two burglars behind his house, one of whom he said had a gun, according to the New Jersey attorney general’s office.
A dispatcher shared the information about the armed burglar with responding agents at the time, officials said. The grand jury voted Tuesday to indict Oldrati.
“(Sharp’s) life was cut short seconds after Officer Oldrati arrived at the scene, while (he was) still on the phone with a police dispatcher,” Attorney General Matthew Platkin said in a press release Wednesday.
The attorney general’s office previously released copies of Sharp’s call to 911 and Oldrati’s body camera footage showing the shooting incident.
Seconds after the shooting, Oldrati is heard to say in the body camera footage, “I don’t know, the man came forward, aimed a gun”, when asked what had happened.
After the shooting, a replica .45 caliber handgun was found near Sharp, according to the attorney general’s press release.
CNN has sought comment from Oldrati’s lawyer, the Mantua Township Police Department and the township’s mayor.
Official: Oldrati ‘gave no verbal orders or warnings’
Oldrati arrived outside Sharp’s home shortly after another officer, Cpl. Robert Layton, officials said.
As Oldrati got out of his squad car, Layton yelled, “He’s got a gun on him, right there,” the press release said.
Oldrati fired his pistol several times and hit Sharp with several rounds, officials said. Layton didn’t fire his gun.
As for the gun replica that authorities say was found near Sharp after the shooting, the attorney general’s press release does not state who it belonged to, or whether Sharp had possessed it.
Officers and emergency medical personnel rendered assistance to Sharp, but he later died in a hospital, officials said.
“When residents call 911 for help, they are concerned, they need help, they are seeking protection — and they trust that the officers who respond to their calls will respond accordingly and help them,” Platkin said. “Tragically, that didn’t happen here.”
The New Jersey Office of Public Integrity and Accountability investigated the case and presented information to the grand jury.
“Less than five seconds elapsed between the time Officer Oldrati stepped out of his squad car and the time he began shooting at Mr. Sharp,” Thomas J. Eicher, the firm’s executive director, said in the press release.
“Officer Oldrati gave no verbal orders or warnings before shooting Mr. Sharp,” said Eicher. “The grand jury determined that his conduct was unwarranted and warranted the return of a manslaughter charge.”
Oldrati could face up to 10 years in prison on manslaughter charges if convicted.
CNN’s Sabrina Souza contributed to this report.
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