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Massive Manhunt Launched After Shooting of N.J. Officer

February 01, 2010  | 

Before he was shot by at least two men in a Dodge Magnum, Fairfield police officer Gerald Veneziano gave a colleague the car’s license plate number — a piece of evidence authorities are hoping will be the assailants’ undoing.

The black Magnum with at least two men inside was parked just a few blocks from police headquarters, in an industrial park on Fairfield Road, when it caught Veneziano’s eye as the officer drove to work Saturday night. Acting on his suspicions, authorities said, Veneziano called the station to run a license plate check.

Less than five minutes later, the 26-year-old officer lay at the curb, partially conscious and suffering from multiple gunshots. The Magnum had vanished — but, authorities said, not before Veneziano got off some rounds.

Detailing the calamitous encounter, acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert Laurino today said several law enforcement agencies have formed a task force and launched a massive manhunt to find the people who shot Veneziano. The officer remained hospitalized tonight in critical but stable condition at University Hospital in Newark.

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