No charges for Vineland cop who fired at car driving toward him
VINELAND — No charges will be filed in connection with the 2018 death of a man who was shot by a county detective as he drove his car at the officer.
Jacob Servais, 19, of Millville, and his girlfriend were returning a Toyota Corolla believed by police to have been used in a home invasion in Lower Township the previous day to the Just 4 Wheels car rental office on South Delsea Drive in Vineland around 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 18, 2018.
Servais and his girlfriend, whose identity was not revealed, were suspects in the incident the day before, during which a man was beaten with a rifle and robbed, according to Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.
Police had set up surveillance across the street from the Just 4 Wheels office in anticipation of the car being returned. The woman arrived in the rental while Servais was driving a Nissan Altima, Grewal said. Officers descended upon the parking lot and positioned their vehicles to prevent them from leaving, Grewal said.
The woman was arrested but Servais, who was blocked in front by a Chevrolet Tahoe and to the rear by a Jeep, refused orders to exit the Altima, according to Grewal.
Servais tried to move the Altima forward but had trouble getting over a wooden block he had backed over at the end of the space while parking and kept revving the engine, according to Grewal. When he was able to get traction, he was headed toward the officer who fired the fatal shots at Servais, hitting him several times in the torso, according to Grewal.
The officer told investigators he fired because he believed that Servais was going to hit him with the car.
Grewal said that after he was shot, Servais shifted into reverse, crossed a grassy area and came to a stop in a parking lot. He was taken by ambulance to Inspira Medical Center in Vineland where he later died.
A grand jury, after hearing testimony and evidence from the team’s investigation, voted “no bill," meaning they believes that no criminal charges should be filed against him.
Grewal said that in New Jersey an officer may use deadly force when the officer reasonably believes it is immediately necessary to protect the officer or another person from imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm.
The Attorney General's Office investigates all incidents in which shots fired by a law enforcement officer results in death.