TRENTON – The Attorney General’s Office today released audio and video recordings related to the shooting on May 23, 2020 on the Garden State Parkway in Bass River, N.J., in which a New Jersey State Trooper fatally shot Maurice Gordon, 28, of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
The Attorney General’s Office today also released the identity of the State Trooper who shot and killed Mr. Gordon. He is Sgt. Randall Wetzel of Troop “D” of the New Jersey State Police.
The shooting remains under investigation by the Attorney General’s Office. However, the audio and video recordings are being released pursuant to Attorney General Directive 2019-4, the “Independent Prosecutor Directive,” which governs use-of-force investigations in New Jersey and requires that such records, if requested, be released to the public once the initial phase of the investigation is substantially complete, generally within 20 days.
The recordings depict five episodes involving Mr. Gordon over an approximately 30-hour period: a 911 call placed by one of Mr. Gordon’s friends on the morning of May 22, 2020, followed by interactions between Mr. Gordon and law enforcement officers in Brick, Waretown, Stafford, and Bass River, New Jersey, on the morning of May 23, 2020.
The recordings are contained in 12 files, which have been posted online. Click here for files. To facilitate their review, the file names are numbered and described briefly below.
Interaction in Brick, NJ
Interaction in Waretown, NJ
(Includes Visit to Wawa in Barnegat, NJ)
Interaction in Stafford, New Jersey
Interaction in Bass River, New Jersey
At approximately 7:25 a.m., a State Trooper attempted to provide aid to Mr. Gordon, but did not detect a pulse. Shortly thereafter, a second State Trooper attempted to administer aid. EMS arrived at the scene at approximately 7:28 a.m. and pronounced Mr. Gordon deceased.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, which is an independent agency housed in but not of the Department of Health, has not yet completed its medical examination report, including any conclusions about Mr. Gordon’s time of death. Once that report is complete, the findings will be shared with Mr. Gordon’s immediate family.
The information at this link was previously made public pursuant to the Open Public Records Act, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-3.b., which lists specific criminal investigatory information that must be disclosed.
The investigation is being conducted pursuant to a state law enacted in January 2019 (P.L.2019, c.1), which requires that the Attorney General’s Office conduct investigations of a person’s death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody.
The investigation is ongoing and no further information is being released at this time. Under state law and the Independent Prosecutor Directive, when the entire investigation is complete, the case will be presented to a grand jury, typically consisting of 16 to 23 citizens, to make the ultimate decision regarding whether criminal charges will be filed. The Administrative Office of the Courts has temporarily suspended the convening of grand juries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The investigation is being conducted in compliance with procedures and requirements established in the Independent Prosecutor Directive, which is available at this link.
The Independent Prosecutor Directive, issued by Attorney General Grewal in December 2019, outlines a 10-step process for conducting independent investigations of use-of-force and death-in-custody incidents in compliance with state law. The directive establishes clear procedures governing such investigations to ensure that they are done fully, fairly, and independently of any potential bias. A summary of that 10-step process is available at this link.
Note: Members of the press can email the Communications Office to obtain a link to download video and audio recordings.