LAURENCE HARBOR — The Attorney General’s Office today identified the decedent and officer involved in Monday’s fatal officer-involved shooting in the Laurence Harbor section of Old Bridge. The civilian who died during the encounter has been identified as Luke Mendez, 26, of Laurence Harbor.
According to the preliminary investigation, police responded to a 9-1-1 call regarding a dispute on Monday, April 24, 2023 at approximately 3:09 p.m. on Woodland Avenue in Laurence Harbor. Old Bridge Police Officer Christopher Hammel fired his service weapon. Mendez was wounded and was transported to Old Bridge Medical Center. He was pronounced deceased at 4:47 p.m. A knife was recovered at the scene near the decedent.
A 2019 law, P.L. 2019, c. 1, requires the Attorney General’s Office to 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. It requires that all such investigations be presented to a grand jury to determine if the evidence supports the return of an indictment against the officer or officers involved.
The investigation is ongoing and no further information is being released at this time.