A state grand jury has voted not to file any criminal charges at the conclusion of its deliberations regarding the death of Merrill Rambarose, 49, of Edison, New Jersey, who was fatally shot by Edison police officers on April 12, 2022.
Rambarose’s death was investigated by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) and presented to New Jersey residents serving on the state grand jury in accordance with the Independent Prosecutor Directive of 2019.
In July 2021, OPIA issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure these grand jury presentations are conducted in a neutral, objective manner, with appropriate transparency regarding the process, consistent with the Directive.
The investigation included witness interviews, photographs, review of video footage, as well as autopsy results from the medical examiner.
This evidence, including video of the incident, was presented to a state grand jury.
After hearing the testimony and evidence, the grand jury concluded its deliberations on September 25, 2023, and voted “no bill,” meaning no criminal charges would be filed against Officer Daniel Bradley and Officer Joseph Elqumos of the Edison Police Department.
According to the investigation, uniformed Edison police officers responded to a 911 call made shortly after 3:45 p.m. reporting a man was threatening a woman with an axe at an apartment complex on Judson Street in Edison.
When officers arrived, they attempted to speak with Rambarose on his second-floor apartment balcony, urging him to come downstairs to talk to them.
Rambarose went inside his apartment and emerged moments later armed with an axe. Officers repeatedly ordered him to drop the weapon.
Rambarose did not comply and continued to run toward officers with the axe in his hand. Officers Elqumos and Bradley both fired their weapons, fatally wounding Rambarose.
The axe was recovered near the body.
Officers and emergency medical personnel rendered first aid before Rambarose was transported to JFK University Medical Center in Edison. He was pronounced deceased at 4:41 p.m.
Video footage from three body-worn cameras capturing the events surrounding the shooting were previously released.
Those recordings are available here: https://njoag.app.box.com/s/qqq3m1wx52b1xwaottfjkld41cdvm3wc