Three teenagers were shot at and hunted down like dogs early Saturday morning after mistakenly knocking on the door of a New Jersey State Trooper in Sparta.
The teens reportedly had left a high-school graduation party and were attempting to meet a friend at his home on West Mountain Road.
Instead, they erroneously went to the home next door, and after repeatedly ringing the doorbell and loudly knocking, the unidentified trooper came to the door and yelled at them before they ran away.
The three got into a vehicle and the officer fired three gun shots as they attempted to flee, disabling the car about a half a mile away where two of them – John Baker-Marasco and Jesse Farcorn – were apprehended and taken to the Netcong Trooper Barracks for questioning and processing.
The third, Matthew Mayer, fled on foot, witness say.
Sparta Police and the New Jersey State Police were quickly dispatched and a manhunt ensued involving a helicopter equipped with a spot-light, canine units, foot patrols, and vehicles – which scoured the scene, questioned homeowners and searched private property.
Mayer was eventually found and arrested.
It is not clear what the teens were charged with and involved police agencies have said they cannot comment on the possible charges since the attorney general’s office is conducting the investigation.
The Press Office of the attorney general’s office has not yet responded to requests for comment made by local news outlets.
The startling story precludes the reality that police envision themselves as a protected class in society – to shoot first and ask questions later – even when off-duty.
The reaction has troubled local residents who were awoke to a martial law type abuse of private property rights in the wee hours of the morning during the search.
One homeowner complained that their home and property was searched and another said the police officers came to their home and questioned them about Mayer – but it is not clear how many total homes were combed through during the “investigation.”