Two Orange officers remain critical[ORANGE, NJ]

Staff and wire reports
( ORANGE, N.J. ) -- Two Orange police officers remained in critical condition Saturday after a shootout that left a suspect dead.

The shootings took place in a burst of gunfire as a group of officers -- some in plainclothes -- chased the suspect in a residential neighborhood about 8:30 p.m. Friday.

Officer Kenneth McGuire, 26, was shot in the right side of the abdomen and the right leg, said Rogers Ramsey, a spokesman for University Hospital in Newark. Officer David Lemongello, 30, was shot in the left side of the chest and the left arm, Ramsey said.

Both men were in the hospital's surgical intensive care unit Saturday and were listed in critical but stable condition, hospital officials said. They had undergone surgery Friday night.

Prosecutors identified the suspect as Shantez Everett, 24, of Orange.

In a news release issued Saturday, the Essex County Prosecutor's Office gave this account of the shootings:

At about 8:30 p.m. Friday, a four-member undercover surveillance team from the Orange Police Department was sitting outside a Delta gas station that had been robbed eight times in the past eight months.

One of the undercover officers observed Everett -- who fit the description of one of the alleged robbers -- approach the gas station, hesitate, and then continue walking. The officer, Sgt. Brian David, called for backup and Lemongello, a plainclothes member of the surveillance team, tried to stop Everett a few blocks away.

Lemongello apparently was shot as he tried to question Everett, the release said. Lemongello did not fire his weapon, the Prosecutor's Office said.

The remaining officers and surveillance team then cordoned off the area and began searching for Everett. Everett emerged from bushes in a nearby back yard, and struck McGuire, prosecutors said.

Then, police and prosecutors said, McGuire and two other officers began firing at Everett.

Everett was shot several times and was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy was begun Saturday and will continue today, said Essex County Executive Assistant Prosecutor Charlotte L. Smith.

Orange Councilman Fred Riviello, who lives down the block from the shooting scene in a neighborhood of two- and three-family homes, said he first heard the screeching of a car's brakes, then what sounded like cars colliding.

Riviello ran outside, fearing his car had been hit, and started heading toward the commotion he saw at the end of the block. As officers warned him to keep back, he heard 10 to 15 shots ring out, he said.

Everett fell between some bushes and a pile of snow in a back yard, Riviello said.

Riviello said he feared a replay of the April 8, 1999, shooting of Orange Police Officer Joyce Carnegie. She was killed while approaching a robbery suspect on a sidewalk.

"I really didn't want to go through that again, because the last funeral was the most depressing day I've ever spent," he said.

That shooting led to a scandal in the Orange Police Department. Police arrested three suspects before a fourth man confessed to the murder. One of the people initially arrested, Earl Faison, died in police custody, and five Orange officers were convicted in December of violating his civil rights.

McGuire, who joined the department four years ago, was involved in at least one prior shooting, in February 1999. At that time, he and another officer opened fire on three suspects, one of whom was critically injured.

Lemongello, an Orange officer for six years, had recently served on the Police Department's bicycle squad, Riviello said.


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