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Prosecutor: Escaped inmate armed with tools when police shot him

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli this afternoon confirmed a CLIFFVIEW PILOT report from last night that 19-year-old Malik Williams of Garfield was hiding in a garage after escaping from police custody and charged two officers with tools from inside when they shot him dead late yesterday afternoon.

Williams turned himself in to Garfield police at 1:20 Saturday afternoon in response to a warrant for his arrest on aggravated assault charges in connection with a fight he had with his girlfriend, the prosecutor said.

“Williams was served with criminal complaints and processed for arrest,” Molinelli said. “During the complaint processing, at about 3:25 pm, Williams ran from the processing room and escaped from the police department by running out a rear door of the police department.”

Several officers chased him north along the railroad tracks near police headquarters, as a Bergen County Police K-9 unit was summoned, he said.

As CLIFFVIEW PILOT reported yesterday, a canine officer “eventually tracked Williams to a private residential garage, located at 22 Dahnerts Park Lane, where Williams had secreted himself inside the garage,” Molinelli said. ( SEE: Escaped prisoner shot dead by police )

As also contained in the published report, the prosecutor said the officers “attempted to enter a side door to the garage but found the door to be barricaded shut. The police officers then opened up the bay door and encountered Williams, who is alleged to have armed himself with tools, presumed to have been gathered from the garage.

“Upon encountering Williams with the tools in his hands, the police officers fired at Williams, striking him numerous times,” Molinelli said.

“Williams was found in the garage behind numerous objects where it appeared he had been hiding for a brief period of time. Garfield police officers conducted emergency CPR on Williams until medics arrived and transported Williams to [Hackensack University Medical Center].”

He was pronounced dead there at about 5:45 p.m, he said.

The 5-foot-10, 150-pound Williams has been arrested three times the past two years in Bergen County, once for resisting arrest and eluding and two  more times for aggravated assault — including an incident in May this year for which he had to post $25,000 bail, public records show.

Molinelli said his office is leading an investigation that he said includes the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department and the Medical Examiner’s Office, which is conducting the autopsy.

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