Morristown, NJ

Morris Plains Officer Cleared in Shooting Fatality

Morristown Minute

A state grand jury has voted not to file criminal charges against Sergeant Christopher Cornine, of the Morris Plains Police Department, after the killing of Timothy O’Shea on July 14, 2020.


A state grand jury has voted not to file any criminal charges against Sergeant Christopher Cornine, of the Morris Plains Police Department, in the fatal shooting of Timothy O’Shea, 24, of Morris Township, NJ.

According to the investigation into Sergeant Cornine’s actions, at approximately 4:14 PM, officers from the Morris Township, Morris Plains, and Morristown Police Departments were notified of a 911 call reporting a domestic disturbance.

The caller reported that a person at their residence on Fairchild Avenue had cut himself and had a gun. Upon arrival, officers took the 911 caller into safety and at approximately 4:19 PM encountered Timothy O’Shea, holding a pistol and bleeding from the neck and wrists.
Timothy O'Shea aims a replica Beretta at a police officer in Morris Township. An instant later he was shot, fatally. July 14, 2020.Image from a neighbor's camera. Morristown Green

Officers pleaded with O’Shea to drop the weapon; he did not comply. O’Shea raised the pistol, pointing in the direction of Sgt. Cornine. Sgt. Cornine then fired four shots, striking O’Shea twice.

Officers gave first aid and EMS transported O’Shea to Morristown Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 5:41 PM.

The pistol that was in O’Shea’s hand was later rediscovered at the scene and determined to be a replica Beretta 9mm airsoft pistol.

According to MorristownGreen, O’Shea was the son of Kevin O’Shea, a retired Morris Township lieutenant who continues to work for the department as an executive administrative assistant.

“After considering the evidence, testimony from the OPIA investigation, and instructions on the legal standards, including whether the officer’s actions were legally justified, the state grand jury determined that no criminal charges should be brought against the officer. An officer may use deadly force in New Jersey when the officer reasonably believes it is immediately necessary to protect the officer or another person from imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm.” – Office of the Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin

More information about how fatal police encounters are investigated in New Jersey.

Watch the body camera footage on Youtube


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