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Police Officers Cleared in Fatal Mantoloking Shooting; Shocking Account of Incident Released

Police Lights (Photo: Jason Rojas/Flickr)

Police Lights (Photo: Jason Rojas/Flickr)

A Mantoloking police officer who shot and killed a wanted man in Mantoloking in 2018 was justified in using deadly force, the state ruled Wednesday, concurring with the findings of an investigation with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.

According to the report, on Nov. 12, 2018 at 11:47 a.m., the Lacey Township Police Department contacted Mantoloking police regarding Edward M. Walsh, who was a wanted person and might be located in Mantoloking. Walsh was wanted by the Sayreville Police Department for kidnapping, aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon; possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and theft by unlawful taking for “acts against his girlfriend.” His girlfriend reported that during the course of the kidnapping and beating on Nov. 11, 2018, Walsh had shown her a shotgun and told her that he was going to kill her, according to investigators.

Walsh’s friend reported to police that Walsh called him on the morning of Nov. 12 for a ride, and that he picked him up in Lacey Township and dropped him off in Mantoloking. The friend indicated that Walsh was acting paranoid and had a water bottle, soda and roll of paper towels when he dropped him off in Mantoloking. He was unsure if Walsh had a weapon.

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Officers from the Mantoloking Police Department, Bay Head Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Department with a patrol-certified canine went to the Mantoloking residence believing that Walsh would be there. The officer involved in the shooting, identified in documents only as “Detective A,’ walked around the house and noticed a water bottle, soda, and roll of paper towels outside the rear door of the garage. He also noted that the doors were locked and undamaged. ‘Detective A’ contacted the owner and obtained keys and consent to enter the residence.

The detective, along with one other Mantoloking officer, one Bay Head police officer and one Ocean County Sheriff’s officer with police “K-9 Kane” proceeded to the rear of the residence and prepared to enter and determine if Walsh was inside, the account states. One officer covered the front of the residence out of eyesight of the other officers. ‘Detective A’ unlocked and swung the door open and, from police statements and witness accounts, they identified themselves as police officers. An officer described as ‘Officer B’ announced the K-9 dog and indicated that he would release the dog and that the dog would bite. The K9 officer then entered the garage with K-9 Kane in front of him. The other officers stacked behind and spread out while the K9 searched for Walsh. Kane scented Walsh on a small utility closet door and his handler opened the door towards himself.

At that point, the report states, Walsh jumped out of the closet, cut his own throat multiple times with a large knife, and then engaged with K-9 Kane. The dog attached to Walsh’s left arm and Walsh began stabbing K-9 Kane with the large knife that he had in his right hand, the account states. An officer commanded Kane to release and return to him, at which point Walsh began approaching the officers with the knife simultaneously backing the K9 and his handler into the front corner of the garage.

The officers, the report states, continued yelling “Police, drop the knife!” and Walsh continued to advance on the officers. The four officers then fired their duty weapons and hit Walsh multiple times.

The investigation showed that Walsh walked at least 20 feet from the utility closet doorway toward the officers before being shot. Officers found a large knife with a brown handle next to Walsh and a second knife in his waistband. The officers removed the weapons from Walsh’s reach and administered first aid until the ambulance arrived. Meanwhile, the K9 officer administered First Aid to K-9 Kane and transported the canine to a veterinary hospital for the treatment.

The Ocean County Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy on Edward Walsh and noted sharp force injuries to the neck consistent with the Officers’ reports that Walsh had slashed his own neck. The Medical Examiner indicated that the cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds and the manner of death to be homicide. He also indicated that the self-inflicted knife wounds would have ultimately caused his death if left untreated.

The Toxicology Report indicated that Edward M. Walsh’s blood tested positive for amphetamine, methamphetamine and THC (the active ingredient in marijuana). A urine screen revealed metabolites for cocaine, methamphetamines and fentanyl.

The report indicated that, “Blood levels of 200 to 600ng/mL have been reported in methamphetamine abusers who exhibited violent and irrational behavior.”

Walsh’s methamphetamine level was 950 ng/mL.

“The Office of the Attorney General and Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer are satisfied that the undisputed facts establish that the Mantoloking Police Officers; the Ocean County Sheriff Officer and the Bay Head Officer involved in this incident were legally justified in the force they used to protect their lives and those of their fellow officers,” the report found.

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