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Allendale man charged in Hackensack shooting, chase opts for trial instead of plea deal

Photo Credit: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia
Photo Credit: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY SHERIFF
Photo Credit: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia

ONLY ON CVP: Rather than accept a plea offer, an Allendale man accused of firing a revolver at his wife and another man in Hackensack’s Foschini Park and then leading police on a mad chase — ramming his SUV into two police cars and injuring three officers — today chose to go to trial instead.

James Thompson, 61, rejected the prosecutor’s offer of 12 years — with parole eligibility after 3½ — because “this is a case where nobody got hurt,” defense attorney S. Emile Lisboa told CLIFFVIEW PILOT after today’s court appearance in Hackensack.

Three police officers actually were injured after Thompson rammed two of their cars, authorities said.

Thompson, following his arrest (MUGSHOT: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY SHERIFF)

Half of the charges in a 16-count indictment accuse Thompson of assault or attempted assault on police and others, in addition to weapons offenses and threatening charges.

A probation officer who witnessed the Jan. 2 incident that sparked the mayhem called to report seeing Thompson pull and fire a .32-caliber revolver during a dispute he was having with his wife and another man in the park.

No one was hit, but police said the shooting left bullet holes in a car.

Thompson — who operates an antiques consulting company out of his Hillside Avenue home — then sped off in a 2013 Nissan SUV, they said.

Hackensack Police Detective William Inglima spotted the vehicle and began chasing it moments later.

Thompson then drove it over the sidewalk and through the bushes in the Hackensack Avenue parking lot of Target before emerging out the back on Main Street, city Police Director Michael Mordaga told CLIFFVIEW PILOT at the time.

“There, he saw Detective Ryan Weber’s police car and intentionally rammed it with such force that the car was totaled,” the director said. “He then drove around it and kept going.”

Just up the road, Thompson spotted Officer Rory Chapin headed toward him — and did the same to his car, Mordaga said.

He continued south on Main Street, the collapsed wheel on the front driver’s side sending sparks flying.

Thompson tried turning onto Anderson Street, but the car hit a curb and came to a stop, Mordaga said.

Detective Alex Lopez-Arenas, one of several officers who fought to get the struggling suspect out of the vehicle, sustained a minor leg injury, the director said. Both Weber and Chapin sustained non-life-threatening injuries, as well, Mordaga said.

Seven of the indictment’s counts charged Thompson with assaulting, attempting to assault or threatening a half-dozen police officers and detectives.

It also charges him with attempting to elude police, attempted serious bodly injury to the man and woman in the park and threatening to shoot them.

The indictment adds three gun possession counts and a single charge of illegally having a hunting knife, as well.

Thompson remained held this morning on $250,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail (down from an original $500,000).

James Thompson in court today (STORY / PHOTOS: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia)

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