A 42-year-old man, Estiben Alegria Hurtado, was fatally shot by police in a domestic dispute in Elizabeth, NJ. The incident unfolded when Hurtado, reportedly under the influence of alcohol, brandished a knife during an argument with his cousin’s girlfriend.
The incident took place in a home on Amity Street, according to a statement from the NJ State’s Attorney’s Office. Officers were dispatched to the location following a 911 call about an intruder on Saturday around 8 a.m. Deiby Salcedo, the brother of the deceased, informed authorities that Hurtado arrived drunk at the house of his cousin, Eduar Riascos.
Eyewitness accounts suggest that during the argument, Riascos’s girlfriend showed Hurtado a bat, presumably for self-defense. However, it’s reported that Hurtado, despite having a knife, wasn’t posing a threat to anyone, according to another witness quoted by ABC News.
Family members further noted that the argument escalated, prompting a call to the police. Upon arrival, a confrontation ensued between the officers and Hurtado. Officer Steven Lazo discharged his weapon during the altercation, hitting Hurtado in the chest.
Hurtado was immediately rushed to University Hospital in Newark, where he was pronounced dead at 11:36 p.m. Sunday. Authorities confirmed the recovery of a knife near the scene of the incident.
“There are too many different ways to stop someone, you don’t have to kill,” voiced Hurtado’s sister, expressing her dissatisfaction with the outcome of the situation.
The case, overseen by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, has been forwarded to the state Attorney General’s Office for further investigation. It is standard procedure to investigate any death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in an official capacity or while the decedent is in custody.
This is not an isolated incident. In October of the previous year, a suspected car thief was fatally shot by a police officer in Paterson, N.J. Similarly, in December, an individual was shot dead by police on Long Island (NY) after critically injuring two officers with a knife.