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Three Suspects Charged With Shooting of NJ State Police Detective

PATERSON — Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin today announced a state grand jury has voted to file criminal charges against three defendants stemming from the shooting of a New Jersey State Police detective in Paterson back in March.

New Jersey residents serving on the grand jury in Trenton returned a nine-count indictment at the conclusion of their deliberations, charging Jocquise Timmons, 28, Tajshmer Johnson, 30, and Queenasia McFarlane, 30, all of Paterson, in connection with the March 2, 2023 shooting.

Timmons and Johnson have been indicted on two counts of attempted murder (1st degree) and two counts of aggravated assault (2nd degree).

Timmons was additionally charged with several weapons counts: possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose (2nd degree), unlawful possession of a weapon (2nd degree), and possession of a weapon by a convicted person (2nd degree).

The third suspect, McFarlane, was charged with hindering apprehension or prosecution (3rd degree).

“This incident quickly escalated from a call about a suspected attempted break-in to a life-or-death situation for these detectives, serving as a reminder that members of law enforcement are always facing great risks,” said Attorney General Platkin. “We are all grateful this ambush did not end as the two suspects intended — with the deaths of members of our New Jersey State Police. The suspected shooter fled the state to avoid facing the consequences. But state borders did not enable him to escape from justice.”

“This surprise attack put the lives of police detectives in jeopardy,” said Derek Nececkas, Interim Director of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We fully intend to hold not only the suspected gunman but also those who assisted in the commission of this crime and who obstructed our investigation accountable and this indictment brings us closer to that objective.”

Timmons allegedly fired shots at two NJSP detectives driving unmarked vehicles in the area of East 26th Street and 9th Avenue in Paterson just before 1 a.m. Thursday, March 2. The bullets hit both vehicles and struck one of the detectives in the lower leg. The detective, whose name is not being released, was transported to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, where he underwent surgery for his wound and survived.

At the time of the shooting, the detectives were investigating a report of an alleged attempted break-in by masked suspects at a home on East 26th Street shortly before 11 p.m. March 1. As the detectives followed a vehicle believed to be involved in that incident, Timmons allegedly exited a second suspect vehicle, hid behind parked cars, and opened fire on the undercover NJSP vehicles, striking the victim. Johnson was allegedly driving the vehicle that the suspected shooter stepped out of before firing the shots.

Timmons was arrested in South Carolina as he stepped off a commercial bus the day after the shooting, March 3, 2023. Johnson was taken into custody on Thursday, July 20, 2023. McFarlane was charged after she allegedly provided false information to police during questioning, in order to hinder Johnson’s apprehension.

Deputy Attorneys General Kevin J. Long and Cynthia M. Vazquez, the deputy chief of the DCJ Violence Suppression and Organized Crime Unit, are handling the prosecution of the defendants under the supervision of Bureau Chief Lauren Scarpa Yfantis. NJSP Major Crimes North Unit was the lead investigative agency on this matter.

The first-degree attempted murder charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison, including a period of parole ineligibility equal to 85 percent of the sentence imposed, and a fine of up to $200,000. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000.

The charges against the defendants are merely accusations, and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.