A city police officer was injured attempting seize what appeared to be an abandoned vehicle on North 3rd Street that matched the description of a car that was involved in a shooting that left three wounded on East 39th Street early Saturday morning, according to authorities.
Police director Jerry Speziale would not confirm the identify of the officer involved. “I can’t comment on that,” said the director when asked to confirm the officer’s name. “I don’t want to damage or hamper an investigation.”
The officer, Maribel Candelo, according to sources, but not yet confirmed by authorities, came across a late model tinted Acura that was running on North 3rd Street near Jefferson Street at about 6 a.m. – less than an hour after the shooting in the Eastside neighborhood.
Witnesses said they heard shots fired outside and saw the officer with her gun drawn on the street.
The damaged vehicle is suspected to have been involved in the East 39th Street shooting near the Bonfire Restaurant between Vreeland Avenue and Market Street at about 5 a.m.
The distance from where the suspected vehicle was located and where the shooting took place is more than three miles.
A resident who lives in the Eastside section said she heard gun shots outside and witnessed rapid police response to the incident. “There’s always people loitering outside all times of the late night and early morning on the weekends mostly outsiders frequenting neighborhood parties,” said Carmen Ortiz.
Ortiz said these individuals who visit city bars and lounges have no respect for people who live in those neighborhoods.
The police officer was not badly hurt. The suspect may have fired at her, but missed striking her vehicle, according to sources.
The Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating the shooting. The officer may have fired at the suspect, but that has not yet been confirmed.
“The Passaic county Prosecutors Office Shooting Response Team has been activated and responded to Paterson this morning on a police involved shooting,” said Michael DeMarco, chief assistant prosecutor. “The investigation is active and ongoing. “
Authorities were searching for the suspect who fled the area.
Jonathan Greene contributed to this report.