Elizabeth police officer cleared in deadly shooting as victim’s family calls for more training

The shooting happened on July 29 after the police responded to a call of an unwanted person at a home on Amity Street in Elizabeth.

Naomi Yané

Mar 20, 2024, 9:13 PM

Updated 32 days ago

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A grand jury has decided not to file criminal charges against Officer Steve Lazo in connection to a fatal shooting of an Elizabeth man last summer.
It's been eight months since Estiben "Stiven" Alegria Hurtado was fatally shot by the Elizabeth police officer. His family was saddened by the grand jury's decision as they continued to push for more de-escalation training within the Elizabeth Police Department.
Lazo and another officer were responding to a domestic dispute at a home on Amity Street in Elizabeth on July 29, 2023, when the shooting happened.
Police bodycam footage shows the moments officers went into the home. Alegria Hurtado could be seen wielding a knife and arguing with a woman holding a bat.
Though he's seen holding a knife and his family admitted he'd been drinking, they and community activists maintain that the shooting wasn't justified and de-escalation tactics should have been deployed.
Deiby Salcedo is Alegria Hurtado’s brother and he said that officers could have shot him anywhere else.
"It could have gone another way but he didn't care,” Salcedo says.
Community activist Salaam Ismail says they've met with the Elizabeth Police Department to discuss the use of de-escalation tactics.
"We had met with them, we had gone to the police academy, we talked about de-escalation, and all that kind of stuff and none of that was used. We talk and then when it comes down to the actual practice, somewhere along the line, it gets lost,” Ismail says.
Alegria Hurtado, a father of two, had only been in the country for a year and a half and was working towards sending for his children and wife who live in Colombia. His family says they feel helpless and hopeless and are doubly reminded of that tragic day every day.
The family says they'll continue to push for changes in the Elizabeth Police Department and work towards getting justice for their loved one.


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