A police officer has been charged with manslaughter after he shot and killed a homeowner who called 911 to report an intruder outside his home in southern New Jersey.
The complaint against Mantua Township Police Officer Salvatore Ordrati was handed down by a state grand jury on Tuesday and was released Wednesday night. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.
The allegations stem from the death of Charles Sharpe III, 49, on September 14, 2021, when he was robbed by two robbers in his backyard around 1:30 a.m. and one of them had a handgun and called 911. Ordrati and another Mantua officer corporal. Robert Layton soon arrived at his home in another vehicle.
Sharp, an Air Force veteran, was on the phone with a 911 caller and was standing in his front yard when police arrived. Layton arrived first, and Aldrati arrived a little later.
“There’s a gun right there,” Layton yelled as Ordrati stepped out of the police vehicle, the attorney general’s office said in a press release. Ordrati then fired his service weapon multiple times, hitting his sharp several times. Sharp was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after.
Authorities said Leighton did not fire a military weapon and neither Leighton nor Ordrati were injured. Authorities said a replica 45-caliber firearm was recovered near Sharp.
Investigators determined that Ordrati did not give verbal orders or warnings before shooting Sharp.
State Attorney General Matthew Platkin said in a statement: “When residents call 911 for services, they are concerned, they need help, they seek protection. I believe that the government will respond appropriately and help us.” “Unfortunately, that didn’t happen here.”
The case was tried by a grand jury. A grand jury is required when a civilian dies during an encounter with law enforcement officers. The Office of Public Service and Integrity Responsibility investigated the incident and submitted its findings to the Commission.
“There was less than five seconds between Officer Ordrati stepping out of the police vehicle and opening fire on Mr. Sharpe,” police chief Thomas Eicher said in a statement. “…a grand jury determined that his actions were unjustified and that the manslaughter charges should be remanded.”
Mr. Ordrati’s attorney, Christopher St. John, said Mr. Ordrati was “surprised and disappointed” by the charges and that his client was “extremely disappointed.”
“But if the actual jury, the petty jury, could have a full view of all the evidence, I am very confident that Sal would be acquitted,” St. John said.
Sharp’s obituary Having served in the Air Force for more than 21 years, he said he was a “talented carpenter with many skills” and “could build anything”.
His obituary read, “Chuck was a funny man, always knew how to make people laugh, and always put a smile on people’s faces.”