« Back to News

Police: Paterson man arrested in shooting near city church

July 25, 2016

PATERSON – A 28-year-old city man was arrested on weapons charges for allegedly firing a handgun near a 4th Ward church on Sunday morning, police said.

The shooting, in which no one was wounded, happened at about 6:45 am, four hours before services were held at Greater Bethel Church of Christ, officials said.

The suspect, Tyrone Thomas, was charged with four weapons-related offenses, including violation of a law that bans felons from having guns, police said. Thompson had been released from state prison in April 2015 after serving 30 months on drug dealing and gun possession convictions, state records show.

Authorities learned of the shooting when the sound of gunshots on Governor Street activated the city’s ShotSpotter detection system, said Police Director Jerry Speziale.

Officers Matthew Torres and Frank Toledo arrived at the scene and found three bullet casing rom a 9mm Luger and one bullet fragment, Speziale said. The officers were headed back to headquarters about 45 minutes later when police received a tip that a man involved in the gunfire was back at the scene, Speziale said.

Toledo and Torres then found Thompson in the rear yard of 288 Governor Street, the director said. Thompson walked away from the officers and pulled a handgun from the waistband of his pants and tossed it over a concrete wall, Speziale said.

“The officers heard the sound of metal hitting the ground,” the director said.

After the officers handcuffed Thompson, Torres found the gun on the other side of the wall, Speziale said. In searching Thompson, the officers found 24 baggies of apparent marijuana in Thompson’s possession and he also was charged with intent to distribute drugs, police said.

Speziale praised the officers for the restraint they showed in making a weapons arrest “during this difficult time nationally.”

“Clearly, the officers methodically and safely removed a dangerous individual, weapon and narcotics from our streets,” Speziale said.

Bishop Norman Harris, pastor of Greater Bethel Church of Christ, said he was not aware of the shooting but said the street where his church is located has had an increase in crime problems in recent years.

“That used to be a good street,” said Councilwoman Ruby Cotton, who represents the 4th Ward. “But there’s been different people moving in and they’ve been bringing their bad habits with them.”

North Jersey