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Camden County man sentenced in Buena shooting, pointing gun at state trooper

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Deborah M. Marko, Vineland Daily Journal Published 1:43 p.m. ET July 11, 2019



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New Jersey State Police and Franklin Township Police on the scene of a reported shooting. Deborah M. Marko, @dmarko_dj

TRENTON – A Camden County man who open fired outside a Buena motel and then pointed a gun at a responding state trooper who shot at him, is headed to state prison, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced Thursday.

Luis Figueroa, 30, of Blackwood, was sentenced to 10 years, including seven years and nine months of parole ineligibility, for the May 2, 2018, incident in which no was injured.

“By opening fire on a motorist and pointing a gun at a state trooper, Figueroa demonstrated that he is a violent man who poses a serious danger to the community as well as law enforcement officers,” Grewal said. “This sentence protects our residents and officers by keeping him in prison for a long time.”

Figueroa pleaded guilty on May 23, 2019, to a charge of second-degree aggravated assault for firing at the motorist, and a charge of third-degree aggravated assault for pointing the handgun at the state trooper.  He also pleaded guilty to third-degree possession of heroin with intent to distribute.

On May 2, 2018, Figueroa, who was staying at the Rodeway Inn on Tuckahoe Road, fired several shots from a handgun in the hotel parking lot. One shot was allegedly directed at a hotel employee driving through the parking lot, who Figueroa may have mistaken for another man he threatened to shoot over a dispute, investigators said.

Figueroa then walked out to Wheat Road and pointed the gun at another driver, who headed to the Wawa across the street where he and another person reported seeing the armed man and police were alerted.

Vineland, Franklin and New Jersey State Police, who responded to the Wawa, learned the shots were fired at the hotel and the shooter fled on foot. Cleary Elementary School was put in lockdown.

Trooper Scott Montgomery spotted the suspected shooter near the Cranberry Run retirement community and ordered Figueroa to stop but he ran into the woods. As the trooper pursued Figueroa, a Cranberry Run employee warned Montgomery that the suspect had a gun.

When Figueroa reached the tree line, he allegedly turned, faced Montgomery and pointed the gun at the trooper, investigators said.

The trooper, believing his life was in danger, fired three rounds at Figueroa but didn’t hit him.

“The violent and reckless actions of Figueroa posed an immediate threat to everyone in his vicinity and this incident could have easily taken a tragic turn,” Colonel Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police said. “Thanks to the bravery and decisive actions of Trooper Montgomery, Figueroa’s acts of violence ultimately ended with his arrest and this prison sentence.”

During a search incident to the arrest, officers recovered a stolen Keltec 9 mm handgun from Figueroa, as well as a small handbag containing approximately .32 ounces of heroin mixed with fentanyl and approximately .18 ounces of cocaine. 

When a search warrant was executed at the hotel room where Figueroa was staying, detectives reported finding a scale, latex gloves and packaging materials, including wax folds and baggies.  They also found a bag of white powder, which tested negative for narcotics and apparently was being used as a cutting agent.

Deputy Attorney General Rachael Weeks prosecuted the case and handled the sentencing for the Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team.

Under the Attorney General’s Independent Prosecutor Directive, the use of deadly force by the state trooper was investigated by the Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team. 

On Nov. 14, 2018, a state grand jury heard testimony and evidence from the SRT’s investigation into the police-involved shooting and voted “no true bill,” finding that the state trooper, Trooper Scott Montgomery, was justified in firing at Figueroa and declining to file any charges against the state trooper.

Deborah M. Marko has been a The Daily Journal reporter for 30-plus years and currently covers breaking news and education. Got a story idea? Call 856-563-5256. Follow on Twitter: @dmarko_dj Instagram: deb.marko.dj

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