NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Four years to the day after a violent shootout in the Sixth Ward, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office announced that the three men who survived plead guilty to armed robbery and attempted murder.
On March 12, 2009, four men fleeing a bank robbery headed into New Brunswick where city police officers joined in the pursuit.
As the suspects crashed into a security gate in the rear of Saint Peter’s University Hospital, they got out of their 1996 green Ford Windstar and began firing at the officers, who returned fire.
Anthony Paterson, a 57-year-old man from Newark, James Holmes, a 58-year-old man from Newark, and James King, a 56-year-old man from East Orange who is also known as Abdullah Muhammad, will be sentenced on April 29.
They also pleaded guilty to “being certain persons not to have weapons,” because they had previously served prison terms for various offenses and were banned by law from having weapons. They were charged
with carrying five guns, including semi-automatic weapons and a sawed-off shotgun during the robbery.
The fourth man involved, James Phillips, Jr., was also charged but died on April 4, 2009 from two gunshot wounds from the shootout.
The three men who survived face up to 20 years in a New Jersey state prison and must serve 85 percent of the term before becoming eligible for parole.
At 5:56 p.m. on March 12, 2009, Franklin and North Brunswick police began pursuing a vehicle allegedly involved in a robbery of the Bank of America on Route 27 at Veronica Avenue in Franklin Township.
After crashing into the security gate on Delafield Street, the suspects ran towards Guilden Street where they were apprehended by police.
Holmes, King, and Phillips were wounded and taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick where all but Phillips recovered. No police officers were injured.
The police officers were identified as Michael Coppola and Adam Ramirez from New Brunswick Police Department, and Steve Dunkel from North Brunswick Police Department. They were honored in a ceremony by President Obama for being recognized as TOP COPS.
New Brunswick Police Director Anthony Caputo commended his officers and the other members of law enforcement who were involved.
“The final outcome on March 12, 2009 could have been very different with many innocent people getting hurt.” Director Caputo said.
“Instead, because of training, experience, and overall excellent police work, we were able to neutralize the suspects without any residents or police officers being harmed.”
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.