The New Jersey police officer accused of killing a man during an alleged weekend road rage incident was defending his family, his lawyer said Monday.
Patrick McAndrew, attorney for Joseph Lamont Walker, 40, said his client had faced an "attack" on the on-ramp to Interstate 97 in Anne Arundel County. Maryland State Police say Walker shot and killed Joseph Harvey Jr., 36, after an altercation on the road.
"The second version, the true version, will come out," McAndrew told Annapolis District Court Judge Thomas Pryal at a bail review hearing. Walker, a detective for the prosecutor's office in Hudson County, N.J., remained held on $1 million bail Monday evening.
Walker, his wife and their children, ages 3, 6 and 11, were heading home to Eastampton, N.J., from a cousin's birthday party in Odenton, McAndrew said.
According to police, Harvey's passenger, Adam Pidel, said Harvey's Honda was cut off by a van in a left-turn lane at the intersection of Route 175 and Route 3. Walker was driving the van, charging documents state.
On the shoulder, Harvey pulled alongside the van, and the vehicles "intentionally swerved at each other," Pidel recounted in the documents.
"Pidel stated at one point the driver, Mr. Walker, pointed a gun at him and Harvey," charging documents allege.
The vehicles pulled over and the men got out, and soon police responded to the shoulder of the ramp from northbound Route 3 to I-97 for a shooting report. Police found two 45-caliber shell casings at the scene, consistent with Walker's weapon, according to charging documents.
Pidel told police Walker had a gun and he heard one gunshot — charging documents indicate Harvey had a thigh wound — and that he heard several shots after that. He didn't hear a verbal exchange between the men, according to charging documents.
Two passing motorists "corroborated most of Pidel's account," charging documents state.
McAndrew said Harvey acted aggressively toward his client. He said Walker, charged with second-degree murder, repeatedly identified himself as a police officer.
"That did nothing to dissuade the attack," McAndrew said.
Outside of court, McAndrew said, "Mr. Harvey had threatened his family."
Through McAndrew, Walker's wife and brother-in-law declined to comment. Harvey's family was not in court and could not be reached Monday.
A pretrial official told Pryal that Walker had been a police officer for about 18 years. The Hudson County prosecutor's office did not respond to a request for comment.
A previous version of this story incorrectly described Pidel's account of who had a gun.
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