Mantua Township officer indicted on manslaughter charge in 2021 fatal shooting of man outside home

Authorities say Officer Oldrati gave no verbal commands or warnings before shooting and killing Charles Sharp III.

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Thursday, May 25, 2023
NJ officer charged with manslaughter in fatal shooting of man at home
Authorities say Officer Oldrati gave no verbal commands or warnings before shooting and killing Charles Sharp back on September 12, 2021.

MANTUA TWP., New Jersey (WPVI) -- A South Jersey police officer has been indicted by a state grand jury in connection with the 2021 fatal shooting of Charles Sharp III.

The shooting happened back on September 14, 2021, when 49-year-old Sharp dialed 911 to report two burglars behind his home, one of whom was reportedly armed with a handgun.

Mantua Township Police Officer Salvatore Oldrati arrived at Elm Avenue in Mantua shortly after Cpl. Robert Layton. They traveled in a separate police vehicle.

Charles Sharp III

Authorities say information about the burglars was relayed to the responding officers by the 911 operator prior to the arrival of both officers.

Sharp remained on the line with the 911 dispatcher and was standing in the front yard of his residence when officers arrived.

Bodycam video shows the officers responding.

Authorities say while Oldrati was exiting his police vehicle, Layton yelled, "he's got a handgun on him, right there."

SEE ALSO: Bodycam video captures deadly officer-involved shooting in Mantua Twp.

"The guy came out pointing a gun": Newly released bodycam video shows officers arriving at a home in Mantua Township around 1:35 a.m. on September 14.

That's when Oldrati fired his service weapon and struck Sharp multiple times. Layton did not discharge his service weapon.

Officers and medics tried to help Sharp but he died at the hospital.

The man's brother, Christopher Sharp, spoke to Action News on Wednesday evening.

"He didn't deserve what happened to him. Talking to 911 on the telephone. I've seen the footage. Something more could have been done because there was no communication. If there was more he'd still be here today," he said. "There was no time to communicate with the other officer who he was in front of. It saddens me. I lost my brother over a judgement."

A replica .45-caliber firearm was recovered near Sharp, according to the New Jersey Attorney General's Office, which investigates all fatal shootings involving an officer.

After hearing testimony and evidence from the investigation, the grand jury determined that a criminal charge of manslaughter was warranted.

"Mr. Sharp was shot multiple times outside his own home by one of the very officers he had called upon for help. His life was cut short seconds after Officer Oldrati arrived at the scene, while Mr. Sharp was still on the phone with a police dispatcher," said Attorney General Matthew Platkin. "When residents call 9-1-1 for service, they are concerned, they need assistance, they seek protection - and they trust the officers responding to their calls will respond accordingly and help them. Tragically, that did not happen here."

Thomas J. Eicher, Executive Director of the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability, says five seconds elapsed between when Oldrati stepped out of his police vehicle and when he began firing at Sharp.

"Officer Oldrati gave no verbal commands or warnings before shooting Mr. Sharp. The grand jury determined that his conduct was not justified and warranted the return of an indictment for manslaughter," said Eicher.

Oldrati could face up to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison if convicted. Pursuant to the "No Early Release Act," Oldrati would have to serve 85 percent of the overall sentence, during which he would be ineligible for parole.