Three officers cleared in killing of man who fired at them while holding a baby
TRENTON−A state grand jury has declined to indict any of the officers who gunned down a Virginia man in Long Branch in November 2021 who was holding an infant as he fired rounds at police.
Mark D. Walker II, 34, of Woodbridge, Virginia, was shot and fatally wounded by police officers Nov. 6, 2021.
The grand jury handed up its decision May 15, declining to file criminal charges against Monmouth County Emergency Response or SWAT Team Officers Daniel Murphy, Omar Akel, and Eric Voorand.
Voorand, now a sergeant, was a patrolman for the Manalapan Police Department at the time. Murphy is a patrolman for Howell and Akel is a patrolman for Middletown.
The investigation included interviews of witnesses, collection of forensic evidence, and a review of body camera footage, video surveillance, motor vehicle recording footage, and autopsy results from the medical examiner, the Attorney General's Office said.
About 5:10 p.m. on Nov. 5, 2021, Walker shot a detective with the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office in the lower leg as he and other detectives were trying to execute a search warrant on Chelsea Avenue in Long Branch.
The detective was treated at a local hospital and released the same night.
Walker barricaded himself inside the apartment with his two-week-old infant.
Walker told hostage negotiators he wanted to surrender. He was provided with directions and was told that a family member planned to take the baby, the Attorney General's Office said. Negotiations continued for about seven hours with Walker saying he would surrender, but he failed to.
Around 2 a.m., a fire broke out in the apartment building. Walker ran from the burning building, holding the infant. As he ran, Walker fired several rounds from a handgun in the officers’ direction and struck a vehicle parked in the roadway.
The three officers returned fire and fatally wounded Walker, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
The infant was not injured.
The fire in the residence, deemed to be intentionally set, caused extensive damage.
The state Attorney General's Office of Public Integrity and Accountability investigated the case, standard procedure since 2019, and presented it to the state grand jury.
Ken Serrano covers crime, breaking news and investigations. Reach him at 732-643-4029 or at [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Long Branch NJ police shooting: officers cleared in killing