An Essex County, New Jersey, man today admitted his role in a carjacking in which a firearm was brandished.
Jared Walker, 24, of Newark, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi to a three-count indictment charging him with carjacking, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Walker remains detained pending sentencing.
According to Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig, documents filed in this case and statements made in court on Jan. 6, 2020, the driver of a white 2008 Ford E-350 van was carjacked at gunpoint in Newark.
Walker approached the van, which was parked in the city around 2 a.m., brandished a handgun, and drove it away while the victim was still inside.
The victim managed to escape from the van a short time later and called police, who soon began to pursue the stolen vehicle.
Walker refused to pull over when officers tried to stop the vehicle and tried to speed away.
The van slammed into two police cars then struck several other vehicles and knocked down a fence before it ultimately collided with a police car and crashed into an empty snow-covered parking lot at Hawthorne and Chadwick avenues.
Four officers were injured during the pursuit, but none critically.
Walker jumped out of the van and tried to hide in some snow-covered grass, but an officer in a police car who was searching for him unwittingly drove over the suspect, trapping the car thief beneath the cruiser.
When officers heard Walker screaming in agony, they lifted the police vehicle and placed him under arrest. Walker was apprehended law enforcement officers, they also recovered the gun.
Those officers determined that the firearm was 9 millimeter black Taurus TH9C, bearing serial number TLY2825 l, loaded with 13 rounds of ammunition.
In 2015, Walker was convicted of unlawful possession of a handgun in New Jersey Superior Court – a felony offense – and is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms and ammunition.
The carjacking charge carries a maximum potential sentence of 15 years in prison. The charge of possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a felony offense carries a maximum potential sentence of 10 years in prison.
The brandishing of a firearm during a crime of violence charge carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of seven years, and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, which must run consecutively to any term of imprisonment imposed on the other charges. Each of the charged offenses also carries a maximum potential fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 14, 2021.