NEWARK - A young boy was struck and killed by a car in Newark while walking with his mother to school Friday morning. The incident occurred just before 8 a.m. near Seventh and 15th avenues.
According to the Essex County Prosecutor's Office, Newark police were pursuing Troy Ruff, who was wanted on aggravated assault and weapons charges from an incident in May.
News 12 New Jersey was told that Troy struck a tree after realizing he was being followed by police. The car then bounced off the tree and allegedly hit 3-year-old Rahmere Tullis. The boy was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.
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Troy was arrested at the scene. In addition to the charges he faced in the alleged May incident, Troy now faces aggravated manslaughter, vehicular homicide and eluding the police charges.
Newark police say the incident was not the result of a high-speed chase. However, some of the boy's family members are questioning the actions of the arresting officers.
"It's 7 in the morning. It's school time. Parents are with their kids taking the kids to school," says Cordell Tullis, the boy's father. "There should be no reason why [the police] should've been chasing...it's a school zone area."
However, Bishop Jethro James, who lives in the neighborhood is standing up for police and tried to clarify what happened.
"I understand there was not an excessive speed but the gentleman pulled around when he recognized he was being followed," Bishop James says.
A spokesperson for the police union released a statement that says in part, "Our officers are devastated and our hearts go out to the family. Suspects need to comply and have their day in court."
The Essex County Prosecutor is investigating the incident.