06/01/2011

Murder charge for teen accused in NJ cop's death

Rasul McNeill-Thomas is being charged with first-degree murder in the death of Officer William Johnson

By David Porter and Samantha Henry
Associated Press

NEWARK, N.J.— A prosecutor says charges against a 19-year-old man accused in a drive-by shooting that killed an off-duty police officer in Newark, N.J., have been upgraded to include murder.

Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carol A. Murray said Saturday night that Rasul McNeill-Thomas is being charged with first-degree murder in the death of Officer William Johnson.

The shooting happened Thursday night at a fast-food pizza restaurant. Two other people were wounded.

McNeill-Thomas is also charged with two counts of aggravated assault, carjacking, conspiracy and weapons offenses. His bail was raised to $1.5 million, up from $300,000 Friday. It wasn't clear whether he had an attorney, and a call to the Essex County Jail rang unanswered Saturday night.

Police believe a second suspect was the shooter. No other arrests have been made.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press

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