For Further Information:
TRENTON – The Attorney General’s Office is investigating the death of a motor vehicle operator who was fatally injured after setting himself on fire when Bayonne police officers attempted to make a motor vehicle stop. The identity of the male decedent is not being released at this time.
On July 13, 2021, shortly before 11 p.m., officers of the Bayonne Police Department attempted a motor vehicle stop of the decedent’s vehicle after observing several motor vehicle violations in the area of 54th Street and Broadway in Bayonne. Officers activated the lights and sirens on their unmarked patrol vehicle in an attempt to make a traffic stop. The motor vehicle operator failed to stop and continued westbound on 50th Street, ultimately driving down 52nd Street, a dead-end street, where several police vehicles blocked the motor vehicle operator’s path of travel. The motor vehicle operator stopped the vehicle but failed to comply with repeated commands by officers to exit the vehicle. He then appeared to ignite a flame. The interior of the vehicle became engulfed in flames and filled with smoke. Officers attempted to extinguish the flames and called for assistance from the Bayonne Fire Department, which extinguished the fire. The motor vehicle operator sustained serious burn-related injuries and was transported to St. Barnabas Hospital for treatment. He was pronounced dead at St. Barnabas Medical Center at 12:04 pm on July 25.
This investigation is being conducted pursuant to Attorney General Directive 2019-4, which implements the statutory requirement that the Attorney General’s Office conduct the investigation of any 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, and which establishes clear standards and procedures for conducting such investigations.
The investigation is ongoing and no further information is being released at this time.