Gunman with vest killed by NJ police after killing 1 man, shooting 3 LEOs

The suspect had a vest, “lots of ammo,” a rifle and another gun


By Spencer Kent
NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J.

IRVINGTON, NJ — The wild police shootout with a gunman wearing body armor that left three officers wounded all started over a simmering neighborhood dispute and the 20-year-old father of two gunned down Thursday in the initial shooting died trying to keep the peace, his family said Friday.

Jason Caudle, 20, who has two young sons, was identified by his mother as the man killed when Kaizen Crossen, 39, of Irvington, opened fire with a rifle at 11:30 a.m. Crossen was killed by police in the shootout that unfolded minutes later as police arrived to investigate.

A heavy police presence along Myrtle Avenue after a police officer was shot on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019. The officer suffered injuries not considered life-threatening. (Photo/Karen Yi | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)
A heavy police presence along Myrtle Avenue after a police officer was shot on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019. The officer suffered injuries not considered life-threatening. (Photo/Karen Yi | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

Caudle and Crossen were friends and neighbors, Caudle’s mother Celina Williams said. Her son was unarmed when he was killed and he was just trying to help two friends settle the dispute when he intervened, she said.

“They had hung out with each other," Williams said of all three men. "My son had no beef with this young man. The young man had a situation and an altercation with somebody else across the street.”

The disagreement between Crossen and the neighbor began earlier in the week had been escalating, Williams said.

“They were all friends," Williams said. "And my son said after the two fights, ‘Don’t you want to squash this?’ And that’s how my son got shot.”

The state Office of the Attorney General, which is handling the investigation because police returned fire, has not identified Caudle as the 20-year-old killed in the initial gunfire, or provided any motive for Crossen’s rampage on the 300 block of Myrtle Avenue that left three officers with wounds that were not considered life-threatening.

Williams said she was stunned to learn Crossen was the gunman.

Crossen had a bulletproof vest, “lots of ammo” and another gun, Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss said. Crossen and Caudle were both rushed to a local hospital, where they were pronounced dead.

One officer was shot in the lower part of his legs, authorities said. The other two officers suffered gunshot wounds not considered life-threatening during the exchange, police said.

All three police officers were taken to University Hospital where they were listed Thursday stable condition, according to officials.

Right now, Williams said her focus is figuring out how she’s going to bury her son and take care of his two young boys, ages 1 and 2, that he left behind.

©2019 NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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