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Hillsborough Police Ordered a Man to Drop His Sword before Fatally Shooting Him, Audio Recorded

By Barbara A. Preston | January 25, 2022


When Hillsborough police responded to the call of a mentally distressed Hillsborough man who held a 3-foot sword this past September, they began with a polite plea that rapidly escalated.


"Hillsborough police," an officer announced in a calm voice, as he left his cruiser. "Patrick, where you at? Patrick, come out and drop the weapon. Patrick, listen to me. I understand you are going through something. Patrick, drop it. Drop the sword."


Five officers arrived on the scene — a home on Piedmont Path, a pleasant landscaped street where children ride bicycles and residents appear to have good jobs and live in 3- to 4-bedroom homes.


The officers escalated their directives, and began yelling: "Patrick, drop it." Within a minute, four quick gun shots are heard on the recording, which the New Jersey Attorney General's Office released to the public on January 24. The audio clip comes from one of the Hillsborough Police Department's dashboard cameras.


Police were not wearing body cams during the fatal shooting on September 28, so it is impossible to tell what exactly Patrick Chin was doing with the sword when police shot him.

Hillsborough police.
Hillsborough Police arrive on the scene.

The Attorney General’s Office released video footage and audio on Monday, January 24, from the mobile video recorder (MVR) in a police vehicle related to a fatal police-involved shooting that occurred on September 28 in Hillsborough.


One of the four bullets fired by police killed Patrick Chin, 43, and a newlywed, of Hillsborough.


The fatal shooting remains under investigation by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA). The recordings are being released in response to an OPRA request and pursuant to policies established by the Attorney General’s Office in 2019 that are designed to promote the fair, impartial, and transparent investigation of fatal police encounters. Investigators previously met with Chin’s family to review the video recording.


According to the preliminary investigation, uniformed officers of the Hillsborough Township Police Department responded to Chin’s residence on Piedmont Path at approximately 4:10 pm on Sept. 28 in response to a request that the police check on the welfare of Chin. When the officers arrived, they encountered Chin inside the home, holding an approximately 3-foot long sword. During the encounter, Officer George Kokinakous fired his service weapon, fatally wounding Chin. Officers and medical personnel rendered first aid to Chin, who was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 5:28 pm.


The four other officers of the Hillsborough Township Police Department who were at the scene at the time of the shooting have been identified as Officer Robert Feriello, Officer Thomas Gurba, Officer Kyle Edmonds, and Officer Dylan Ely. Officer Feriello deployed Oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray at Chin during the incident.


OC, or "pepper spray," is gaining acceptance and popularity among law enforcement officers and police agencies as a safe and effective method of incapacitating violent or threatening subjects, according to the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). There is, however, a lack of objective data on OC, its risks, and its benefits, according to NIJ.

Chin was raised in Voorhees and earned a bachelor's degree from Rutgers University’s Cook College in 2000.


According to his obituary, he "always nurtured a love for science" and became an IT Technical Lead for Merck right out of college. In 2017, he left to become an IT Business Process Analyst for Bristol Myers Squibb. He was subsequently promoted to the role of IT Business Partner in 2020.


In his personal life, Chin was an avid board game enthusiast, belonging to the Princeton Board Games on the Casual Meetup Group. He adored both trivia and history and never stopped learning new things. He also liked to challenge himself through obstacle course races (mostly Spartan Races) and eventually received over 30 medals.


In 2017, Chin met the love of his life and proposed two years later at the American Museum of Natural History, underneath the T-rex. He and Susan purchased a home in Hillsborough (during the 2020 pandemic) and were married on June 26, 2021 in Bloomfield.


Chin’s "kind and gentle spirit" is survived by his wife Susan, his mother Ann, his brother Victor (Melissa and their daughter Valerie), his father Ti, and loving family and friends.


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The Attorney General’s Office is conducting the investigation into the shooting pursuant to a state law enacted in January 2019 (P.L. 2019, c.1), which requires that the Attorney General’s Office conduct all investigations of a person’s death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody. Separately, the Independent Prosecutor Directive, which was issued in December 2019, outlines a 10-step process for conducting these investigations. The Directive establishes clear procedures governing such investigations to ensure that they are conducted in a full, impartial and transparent manner. Under both state law and the Directive, when the entire investigation is complete, the case will be presented to a grand jury, typically consisting of 16 to 23 citizens, to make the ultimate decision regarding whether criminal charges will be filed.


A copy of the Directive is available at this link: Directive Ensuring the Independent Investigation of Criminal Cases Involving Police Use-of-Force or In-Custody Deaths.

and a summary of that 10-step process is available at this link: https://www.nj.gov/oag/excellence/docs/The-Independent-Prosecutor-Directive.pdf



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