The New Jersey law enforcement officer charged with killing a Lansdowne man in a road-rage incident in Anne Arundel County was released from jail Wednesday after a $1 million bond was posted.
Joseph Lamont Walker, a detective in the Hudson County, N.J., prosecutor's office, is facing a second-degree murder charge in the fatal shooting Saturday evening of Joseph Dale Harvey Jr., a truck driver who friends said recently bought a home in Lansdowne.
Police said Wednesday that Walker's agency-issued gun was used and that an autopsy showed that Harvey suffered three gunshot wounds.
County school officials said Harvey, 36, attended Southgate Elementary in Glen Burnie beginning in kindergarten in 1982, followed by Old Mill Middle School South in Millersville and then Old Mill High School, where he was a wrestler.
Mark Anthony of Glen Burnie, a friend since high school, said Harvey played football in school and later became a truck driver like his father. He described Harvey as "a big teddy bear" who was an avid reader, paintball player and fisherman.
"His sense of humor was everything — that's what drew people to him," Anthony said.
Friends held a vigil Wednesday night.
Accounts differ of the fatal shooting, which occurred on the Route 3 merge onto Interstate 97.
Walker's attorney says his client was not the aggressor.
Attorney Patrick McAndrew said Wednesday that Walker was with his wife and their three children heading home from a cousin's birthday party in Odenton.
"Harvey was yelling from his vehicle at the entire family" and was using the "F-word and the N-word," and Walker did not know what the problem was, McAndrew said. Harvey was white; Walker is black.
State police charging documents do not describe Harvey shouting at Walker.
The Hudson County prosecutor's office did not respond to a request for comment.
Harvey's passenger, Adam Pidel, told police that Harvey became angry when Walker's van cut off Harvey's car as both turned left from Route 175 onto Route 3, and soon the two vehicles were swerving at each other. According to charging documents, Walker pointed a gun at Harvey's car.
McAndrew said Walker did not swerve his van at Harvey's Honda.
"Mr. Walker was swerving to avoid being struck. But swerving at the offending vehicle? Absolutely not," he said.
He declined to say what prompted his client to pull over. Harvey passed the van and pulled over ahead of it, according to police.
What ensued is in dispute.
McAndrew said Walker, who was off duty, identified himself repeatedly as a police officer and showed his badge, but Harvey attacked him and threatened his family. There was no pause, and the shots were fired in succession, McAndrew said.
Two motorists told investigators that Harvey was acting in an aggressive manner. One witness saw Harvey grab at his shorts and lift his left leg, and the other witness told police that there were more shots before Harvey fell.
Pidel told police that he heard one shot and then a few more seconds later, according to charging documents.