A state grand jury voted Friday not to file criminal charges in the death of a Millville man who was shot by a Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office detective last year in Vineland, the state Attorney General’s Office said.
According to police and civilian witnesses, Jacob Servais, 19, drove his car at Detective John Caccia, causing Caccia to fire his service handgun at him, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said.
The shooting occurred about 3:30 p.m. Oct. 18, 2018, when Servais and a woman he was dating, Deshyamma R. Dalton, then 22, arrived at the Just 4 Wheels car rental office on South Delsea Drive to return a rented Toyota Corolla, Grewal said.
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Servais and the woman were suspects in a home invasion and attempted murder that occurred the previous day on Old Mill Road in the North Cape May section of Lower Township, in which a 48-year-old man was severely beaten with a rifle and robbed, Grewal said.
Servais also was wanted on a warrant for failing to appear in court on a pending vehicular homicide charge, Grewal said.
Cape May County detectives determined the car used in the home invasion was the rental car that was due back at Just 4 Wheels on Oct. 18, and they set up surveillance across the street from the business, Grewal said.
The woman arrived at the rental agency, along with Servais, who drove there in a gray Nissan Altima, Grewal said.
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They both parked their respective cars in the lot, Grewal said.
The detectives drove into the lot and broke out into two teams — one to detain the woman, the other to detain Servais. The detectives positioned their vehicles to prevent each suspect vehicle from escaping, Grewal said.
The woman was taken into custody without incident, Grewal said.
Caccia activated the emergency lights on the Chevy Tahoe he was driving and parked it in front of the Altima occupied by Servais to block him in, Grewal said.
Servais had backed into a parking space, and there were parking blocks behind his car, Grewal said.
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Another county detective parked a Jeep behind the Tahoe, Grewal said.
Caccia and a second detective in the Tahoe exited with weapons drawn and shouted commands for Servais to put his hands up and exit the car, Grewal said.
Despite repeated commands by authorities to exit the car, and despite being blocked in, Servais began operating the car in an aggressive manner, Grewal said.
According to the officers who observed the incident, Servais drove forward and rammed the Tahoe, narrowly missing Caccia, Grewal said.
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Servais then backed into a grassy area, where his car had trouble moving due to a wooden parking block it had run over. He tried to get the car to move forward, revving his engine to drive ahead, Grewal said.
The detectives were in front of the car with little space behind them because of the position of their police vehicles, Grewal said.
When the car gained traction and began to move toward Caccia, he fired several shots through the windshield, striking Servais multiple times in the torso, Grewal said.
Caccia said he fired because he believed Servais was going to hit him with the car, Grewal said.
Servais then shifted into reverse, accelerated hard and crossed over the grassy area into the adjacent parking lot, moving the wooden parking blocks from their anchors, Grewal said.
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Servais came to a stop in the adjacent parking lot and slumped over, Grewal said.
Servais was treated at the scene until an ambulance arrived to take him to Inspira Medical Center Vineland, where he died that night, Grewal said.
After considering the facts, evidence and testimony from the investigation by the attorney general’s Shooting Response Team, the grand jury found Caccia’s actions were justified, Grewal said.