A man who allegedly served as the gateway driver in a double shooting at the Incca Village housing complex has been arrested.
Tariq Clay, 39-year-old, was arrested on September 9, the day of the shooting, in a motor vehicle stop. He faces seven charges, including weapons offenses. His arrest was not announced by authorities.
On September 9 at about 9 a.m., Clay allegedly drove the alleged shooter and dropped him off near the apartment complex. He then waited behind the complex to pick up the alleged actor after the shooting took place.
Police traced the car to Clay. Police saw the vehicle traveling and pulled him over on the same day. He was taken to police headquarters for interrogation.
Clay’s attorney Nicholas Patullo said his client did not shoot the two victims. His client was driving a vehicle, he said.
“He does his best to cooperate with law enforcement,” said Patullo, during a detention hearing on September 15, referring to the police interrogation.
But Passaic County assistant prosecutor Mariam Qudah said Clay did not initially cooperate with police.
Qudah said Clay repeatedly feigned ignorance of the shooting. He told police he had no idea what they were talking about. Police offered to show him surveillance footage of the incident that captured his vehicle in the area. Clay told police he doesn’t have to see it. Only after police said they would charge him with two counts of attempted murder did he start to cooperate, she said.
Clay told police he took the unknown shooter inside his car because the shooter said people were shooting at him. But that contradicts evidence.
Clay was driving a beige Nissan Altima on Carroll and Governor Street. His passenger was the alleged shooter, who remained unidentified as of September 15. He dropped off the alleged shooter near the Incca Village. Clay then waited behind Incca Village to allegedly serve as the getaway driver after the shooting. Seven shots were fired. One person was shot in the chest and another in the back. The alleged shooter ran through Incca Village and entered Clay’s car.
“If he didn’t know that a shooting was going to occur why would he drive the vehicle around to the back of Incca Village and wait on the street there, wait on the side of the road as if he was waiting for him?” Qudah told the court. When the shooter approached, running towards the vehicle, Clay let him in and drove away “without any hesitation,” she said.
Both suspects fled the scene.
Passaic County Superior Court judge Donna Gallucio had to decide whether to release Clay from jail.
Clay was convicted on drug charges in 2000. He was convicted on a simple assault offense in 2002. He was charged with aggravated manslaughter, receiving a 10-year prison sentence, in 2004. He was convicted of aggravated assault in 2014, receiving a five-year prison sentence.
“Most of his criminal history is violent in nature,” said the assistant prosecutor.
Gallucio ordered Clay detained in the Passaic County Jail.
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