Three teens mistakenly walked up to the home of a New Jersey state trooper at 2 a.m. last Sunday and began knocking on the door, thinking it was their friend’s home, who lives on the same block.
But when a man on the other side of the door began yelling and cursing at them, they realized they had the wrong home and began walking back to their car.
When the angry man stepped out of the home, they began running and hopped in their car.
And when they saw him aiming a gun with a laser pointer towards them, they stepped on the accelerator to make their escape down the street in front of the home.
But the off-duty trooper, whose name is Kissinger Barreau, stepped into the street and fired three shots, including one that struck the tire.
“We realize it’s a gun and we panic. I’m like ‘dude, dude, dude, accelerate,'” Jesse Barkhorn told NJ.com.
What they didn’t realize was that the man who shot at them was a cop, which meant that his buddies were going to do everything they could to justify firing a gun at three teens who were not even on his property anymore.
About a mile-and-half away from the trooper’s home, once they believed they were safe from the crazy gunman, they stopped the car and one of the teens called his mom to tell her what had happened. He then called police to tell them what had happened.
Minutes later, when the teens noticed police helicopter and police dogs conducting a search in the area, they figured the cops were looking for the trigger-happy gunman.
But then they found themselves surrounded by cops, who searched and handcuffed them before leaving them in the back of a patrol car for hours on accusations that they had attempted to burglarize his home.
They were then driven down to Sparta police headquarters where they were photographed and placed in different cells.
Then they were transported to State Police Barracks where they were handcuffed to a steel bench for five hours before they were interrogated.
During that interrogation, police kept trying to get the teens to say they drove the car towards the cops, which, of course, would have made him fear for his life and justify the shooting.
But the teens just wouldn’t take the bait.
“That’s the exact opposite of what we were trying to do. We were just scared and trying to get out of there with our lives,” Barkhorn told the local news site.
The teens were eventually released when the cops confirmed that they did have a friend living on the same block and realized they were not going to admit to something they did not do.
And that was unfortunate for them because it meant they had to investigate their fellow trooper and we know they don’t like doing that. At least not very thoroughly.
The investigation is now being conducted by the state attorney general’s office, who are predictably taking a very pro-cop stance.
According to NJ.com:
The state attorney general’s office says its preliminary investigation has found an off-duty state trooper fired three shots from his personal gun as three teens fled his street in a car early Sunday morning — an account that’s largely consistent with what one of the teens has told NJ Advance Media.
But not entirely consistent.
Both say the teens knocked on the trooper’s Whispering Woods Lane door late at night after mistaking his home for a friend’s. Both say the trooper came downstairs with a gun — the AG’s office says it was his personal handgun. What the AG’s office describes as a “verbal exchange through the door,” teen Jesse Barkhorn, 18, describes as yelling and cursing by the trooper.
And both say that as the teens got in their car and fled, the trooper entered the street with the gun.
Where they notably differ: According to the AG’s office, the trooper says he identified himself as a trooper and pursued the teens on foot as they fled. Barkhorn says the trooper never identified himself.
It’s going to be interesting to see how this pans out because it appears that the only way to justify the shooting would be to criminalize the teens, either accusing them of trying to run the cop over or fleeing the scene even after they were told he was a cop, which should not make a difference considering anybody can claim they are a cop when they are out of uniform.