March 22, 2002
Carjacker Picks Cop's BMW, Ends up in Hospital
by Bernice Paglia, Courier News
PLAINFIELD - A man who allegedly tried to carjack an off-duty police officer''s car early Wednesday is in critical condition after being shot by the officer, authorities said.
The Union County Prosecutor''s Office is investigating the incident, which happened about 4:30 a.m. in the 700 block of East Seventh Street.
Prosecutor Thomas V. Manahan said Edward Jackson, a six-year veteran of the Plainfield Police Division, was parked outside a friend''s house with a civilian co-worker when a man smashed in the window of Jackson''s silver BMW with a gun and demanded the vehicle.
"What is clear is that the officer shot the suspect shortly after he approached his car, and that the suspect had threatened to shoot him with a large-caliber weapon that was recovered near the scene," Manahan said.
Resident Walter Donnell said the gunshots, which seemed to come from just one gun, woke him up.
"I heard about six shots. I jumped up and looked out the window," Donnell said.
He saw the officer in a nearby driveway and said a woman came out of the house and told the officer the man ran toward Berckman Street.
Donnell said he got dressed and went outside, where he saw the man at the corner of East Seventh and Berckman streets.
"He was laying on the ground saying, `Help me, help me,''" Donnell said.
By then, other officers had arrived and Donnell said they were shining flashlights on the victim, who identified himself as Marcus Greene, 24, of 620 W. Seventh St. However, city police later learned that his true identity is Kemar Roderick Purcell, 22. Police Chief Edward Santiago said Purcell''s father confirmed the real identity. Purcell has a police record under the name Marcus Greene, Santiago said.
Purcell, who suffered gunshot wounds to the abdomen, underwent surgery at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. He is under police guard and faces charges of first-degree attempted carjacking and weapons charges pending completion of the investigation.
A loaded .44-caliber handgun was found behind a nearby home.
Jackson was covered with broken glass and had to have some glass particles taken out of his eye at a health-care facility, Lt. Gregory Johnson of the Plainfield Detective Bureau said. The officer was shaken up during the incident, Johnson said.
As required when an officer uses deadly force to subdue a suspect, Manahan said Investigations Supervisor David J. Hancock is notifying the state Division of Criminal Justice.
Shirley Naiken, who lives across the street from where the car was parked, said the gunshots woke her up and police later told her two slugs were found on her porch.
East Seventh Street, from Berckman to Central streets, was closed to traffic while Union County investigators studied the crime scene. Morning traffic and students walking to Maxson Middle School had to detour around the block in a cold, heavy rain.