Four police officers were justified in fatally shooting a knife-wielding man who stabbed a police dog and then moved threateningly toward the officers, authorities announced Wednesday.
The Ocean County Prosecutor’s office made the finding after reviewing the actions of the officers during their confrontation in Mantoloking last November with Edward Walsh, 39, of Manahawkin. The state Attorney General’s office also reviewed the case and agreed with the prosecutor’s findings.
The officers were among law enforcement members involved in a search for Walsh, who was wanted on kidnapping, aggravated assault and theft charges in connection with an incident involving his girlfriend in Sayreville that occurred the day before he was shot.
Authorities say his girlfriend reported that during the course of the kidnapping and beating, Walsh had shown her a shotgun and told her that he was going to kill her.
Walsh initially fled to Lacey, and authorities there soon learned he was in a home on Barnegat Lane in Mantoloking. Prosecutors say that when several officers entered the home about 45 minutes later with permission of the homeowner, they found Walsh inside a small utility closet and asked him to drop a knife he was holding.
When he did not comply, the police dog “Kane” was released and Walsh stabbed the animal, resulting in officers opening fire. Walsh, who also had a self-inflicted knife wound across his neck, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Authorities say the investigation revealed that Walsh had walked at least 20 feet from the utility closet doorway toward the officers before being shot.
The police dog was treated for its injuries at an area veterinary hospital and released the next day. None of the police officers were injured.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.