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New Jersey police officer who authorities say shot and killed a 911 caller is charged with manslaughter

<i>New Jersey Attorney General's Office</i><br/>A frame from Officer Salvatore Oldrati's body camera shows the scene moments after leaving his vehicle on September 14
New Jersey Attorney General's Office
A frame from Officer Salvatore Oldrati's body camera shows the scene moments after leaving his vehicle on September 14

By Rob Frehse and Ashley R. Williams, CNN

(CNN) — A grand jury has indicted a New Jersey police officer on a manslaughter charge more than a year after authorities say he fatally shot a homeowner who called 911 to report two burglars, the state attorney general’s office said.

Mantua Township police officer Salvatore Oldrati shot Charles Sharp III several times in his Mantua Township front yard, killing him, in the early hours of September 14, 2021, officials said.

Sharp, 49, had called 911 about two burglars behind his home, one of whom he reported had a handgun, according to the New Jersey attorney general’s office.

A dispatcher shared the information about the armed burglar with responding officers at the time, officials said. The grand jury voted to indict Oldrati on Tuesday.

“(Sharp’s) life was cut short seconds after Officer Oldrati arrived at the scene, while (he) was still on the phone with a police dispatcher,” Attorney General Matthew Platkin said in a news release Wednesday.

The attorney general’s office previously released copies of Sharp’s call to 911 and the body camera footage from Oldrati, which shows the shooting incident.

Seconds after the shooting, Oldrati is heard saying in the body camera footage, “I don’t know, the guy came up, pointed a gun,” when asked about what happened.

A replica .45 caliber gun was found near Sharp after the shooting, according to the attorney general’s news release.

CNN has sought comment from Oldrati’s attorney.

The officer has been suspended, Mantua Township said in a statement.

“The Township will continue to cooperate with the process as Officer Oldrati defends against these charges. Pending resolution of the charges, Officer Oldrati is on administrative suspension pursuant to New Jersey law,” the statement said.

Official: Oldrati ‘gave no verbal commands or warnings’

Oldrati arrived outside Sharp’s home shortly after another officer, Cpl. Robert Layton, officials said.

As Oldrati got out of his police car, Layton yelled, “he’s got a handgun on him, right there,” according to the news release.

Oldrati fired his gun multiple times, hitting Sharp with several rounds, officials said. Layton did not fire his gun.

As for the gun replica that authorities say was found near Sharp after the shooting, the attorney general’s news release does not say whose it was, or whether Sharp had been in possession of it.

Officers and emergency medical personnel gave Sharp aid, but he later died at a hospital, officials said.

“When residents call 911 for service, they are concerned, they need assistance, they seek protection – and they trust the officers responding to their calls will respond accordingly and help them,” Platkin said. “Tragically, that did not happen here.”

New Jersey’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability investigated the case and presented information to the grand jury.

“Less than five seconds elapsed between when Officer Oldrati stepped out of his police vehicle and when he began firing at Mr. Sharp,” Thomas J. Eicher, the office’s executive director, said in the news release.

“Officer Oldrati gave no verbal commands or warnings before shooting Mr. Sharp,” Eicher said. “The grand jury determined that his conduct was not justified and warranted the return of an indictment for manslaughter.”

Oldrati could face up to 10 years in prison on the manslaughter charge if convicted.

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CNN’s Sabrina Souza contributed to this report.

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