A suspect with a loaded semi-automatic handgun led police on a foot chase through downtown Paterson early Sunday morning, according to police.
Joseph Nieves, 20-year-old, of Paterson, was among a group of three men walking northbound on Curtis Place from Van Houten Street at around 2:51 a.m.
Police officers on routine patrol of the area took notice of the group and observed Nieves placing a black handgun into the front waistband of his pants.
Police officers Brian Culmone and Gerard Speziale, Jr. immediately stopped and exited their vehicle.
Speziale drew his weapon and ordered Nieves to put his hands up.
Nieves hesitated and then fled north on Curtis Place towards Broadway, police said. Both officers began to pursue the armed suspect while ordering him to stop.
Nieves ran across the street, feigning a run towards Broadway. But continued on the sidewalk along Curtis Place, running back into the street. An unidentified Good Samaritan in a Jaguar vehicle saw what was taking place and accelerated towards the suspect and cut him off, helping the officers in their chase.
Nieves continued to run while reaching in his waistband to remove the handgun. Speziale drew his weapon again and gave loud commands to the suspect to drop his weapon. Both officers observed the suspect throw the handgun over a guardrail and continued to run on Curtis Place towards West Broadway.
Speziale caught up with the suspect and placed him under arrest. Culmone stepped over the guardrail and recovered a defaced Bersa Thunder 380 Plus semi-automatic handgun loaded with a 15-round high capacity magazine, police said.
Nieves was charged with four weapons offenses, including unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of large capacity magazine, and possession of a defaced firearm. He was also charged with fleeing and eluding police.
The recovered weapon will be sent to the New Jersey State Police Ballistics Lab for further examination, police said.