PERTH AMBOY — A 32-year-old man was shot and killed by police on Dec. 4, 2013 after pulling a knife on two officers, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.
Dixon Rodriguez, described by friends as having special needs, encountered two Perth Amboy police officers on Hall Avenue about 1:18 p.m. and attacked one of them with the weapon, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
“We have recovered a weapon from the decedent’s hand,” Carey told ABC-TV news.
“A preliminary investigation has shown that two police officers, whose names are being withheld at this time, were speaking to the man when he attacked one of the officers,” the statement said.
The officer fired as many as three shots, witnesses said.
Rodriguez was pronounced dead at 1:50 p.m.
The officers were taken to Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy. Neither was seriously injured, according to the prosecutor’s office.
The statement did not state why the officers were called to the area or why they approached Rodriguez.
People who live in the neighborhood and at least one family friend were skeptical of the prosecutor’s account.
“We don’t believe Dixon had a knife,” said Joel Perez, who lives nearby on Kearney Avenue. “(Dixon) was someone who had the mind of a six-year-old. It wasn’t in him to do something like this.”
Family friend Carlos Calda said his understanding was that Rodriguez was shot after reaching into his pocket for candy.
“He had gum in his pocket and when he went to take it out he was shot three times,” Calda said.
Calda said a family member described Rodriguez as autistic.
Passerby Brenda Munoz told ABC-TV news she witnessed the shooting and heard an officer say, “I thought he had something.”
Munoz told the station she did not see a knife.
Neighbor Frank Rodriguez of 207 Hall Ave. described the shooting victim as someone who had never been violent before.
“He used to walk around the street asking people for quarters,” Rodriguez said. “We knew he had issues, but he’s never hurt anybody.”
Following the shooting, members of the Perth Amboy Police Department contacted the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, which subsequently notified the state Office of the Attorney General, in accordance with state guidelines.