UPDATE: AG’s Office Investigating Fatal Police-Involved Shooting in Paterson


For Immediate Release: January 6, 2022

Office of The Attorney General
– Andrew J. Bruck, Acting Attorney General
Office of Public Integrity and Accountability
– Thomas J. Eicher, Executive Director

For Further Information:

Media Inquiries-
Peter Aseltine

PATERSON – The Attorney General’s Office is conducting an investigation of a fatal police-involved shooting that occurred on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021 in Paterson, N.J. The decedent has been identified as Thelonious McKnight, 25, of Paterson, N.J.

The officer who fired at Mr. McKnight is Detective Mohammed Bashir of the Paterson Police Department.

According to the preliminary investigation, officers of the Paterson Police Department were investigating an earlier incident when they encountered Mr. McKnight near East Main Street and Hillman Street shortly before 9 p.m. During the encounter, Detective Bashir fired his service weapon, fatally wounding Mr. McKnight. A 9mm handgun was recovered near Mr. McKnight. Police and emergency medical personnel rendered first aid to Mr. McKnight, and he was pronounced deceased at the scene by a physician from St. Joseph’s University Medical Center at 9:11 p.m.

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.


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