Orange records public safety highs and lows in one week

ORANGE, NJ — The week of Sunday, Aug. 20, through Saturday, Aug. 26, was about as good and bad as it can get in the city of Orange Township, from a law enforcement and public safety point of view.

On Thursday, Aug, 24, local officers helped county counterparts foil a bank robbery attempt, killing the suspect. Almost 24 hours later, on Friday, Aug. 25, the city and Police Department, which had been enjoying eight consecutive months without a homicide, registered its first one of 2017 when acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino and Orange Police Director Todd Warren announced that the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office’s Homicide-Major Crimes Task Force and the Orange Police Department were investigating the fatal shooting of Malcolm T. Ford, 24, of Orange.

“Ford was fatally shot yesterday in the 200 block of Scotland Road in Orange,” said Laurino on Friday, Aug. 25. “He was transported to University Hospital in Newark, where he was pronounced dead at 11:17 p.m. yesterday. The investigation is active and ongoing. No arrests have been made and no suspects have been identified.”

According to Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Fennelly, on Thursday, Aug. 24, just before 5:30 p.m., a robbery was reported at the PNC Bank Branch at 410 Main St. in Orange. Police units responded, including detectives from the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, Fennelly said. Two Essex County detectives came upon the suspect and identified themselves as police officers. They ordered the suspect, who was armed with a gun, to stop.

“The suspect did not obey and one officer fired his weapon and struck the suspect,” said Fennelly on Thursday, Aug. 24. “The suspect was taken to University Hospital in Newark, where he was pronounced dead. The weapon was recovered, along with the proceeds from the robbery.”

Fennelly did not say how much money the suspect made off with, and county and local authorities initially did not release the bank robbery suspect’s name on Thursday, Aug. 24, because they wanted to contact his next of kin first.

On Tuesday, Aug. 29, however, Laurino and Fennelly identified the suspect as Scott Mayfield, 24, of East Orange.

“They came upon the suspect, identified themselves as police officers, ordered the suspect, who was armed with an apparent handgun, to stop,” said Fennelly. “The suspect refused commands of the officers.”

County officials said sometimes good law enforcement means being in the right place at the right time to prevent a crime and protect the public. The incident occurred by an apartment building near Tony Galento Plaza close to the NJ Transit train station, just off Main Street, and reportedly involved detectives with the Essex County Sheriff’s Department who “rushed to assist local police when the robbery occurred.”

“They happened to be on the scene at the right time in the right place,” said Sheriff Armando Fontoura on Thursday, Aug. 24. “This is what we do as police officers. Sometimes we are called to do things that we are not fond of, but we do what we need to do.”