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Sergeant Tommaso Popolizio
Newark, New Jersey Police
End of Watch: Saturday, March 3, 2007
Tour of Duty: 12 years
Badge Number: 305
Cause of Death: Vehicle pursuit
Date of Incident: Saturday, March 3, 2007
Weapon Used: Automobile
Suspect Info: In custody
Sergeant Tommaso Popolizio died from injuries sustained when his patrol car rolled during a vehicle pursuit.
At approximately 0300 hours Sergeant Popolizio responded with several officers to a call of drag racing on Doremus Avenue. The officers arrested a male after seeing him throw a gun into a bush. He was handcuffed behind his back and placed in the back seat of a squad car. The suspect was able to move his hand to the front of his body climb through an opening in a Plexiglas partition. The suspect then stole the patrol car.
Sergeant Popolizio pursued the suspect in a marked Ford Explorer SUV. During the ensuing chase the stolen police vehicle and Sergeant Popolizio's SUV collided near the corner of Doremus Street and Wilson Street, causing the SUV to roll several times. Sergeant Popolizio was taken to University Hospital after the crash where he died from his injuries.
The stolen patrol car was abandoned near the crash scene. A Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police officer found the suspect hiding in some bushes nearby and took him into custody. He was charged with aggravated manslaughter and a number of other offenses.
Sergeant Popolizio had served with the Newark Police Department for 12 years. He is survived by his wife, four children, and a brother, who is also a Newark Police Sergeant.
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