FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ – An off-duty cop from New Jersey has been indicted on charges that he drew his gun on a brother-in-blue during a road rage incident last year in Burlington County. The 43-year-old Southampton man, Teddy Cerra, was driving drunk on Nov. 1, 2017 when an off-duty Lumberton officer on his way to work began following him. Cerra noticed the tail and stopped on the shoulder in the 300 block of Red Lion Road in Southampton. The off-duty Lumberton officer stopped behind Cerra and got out of his car.
Cerra exited his vehicle and pointed a gun at the other cop. The unnamed officer showed Cerra his police identification then drove away. In a fit of uncontrollable rage, Cerra didn’t leave it alone. He allegedly got back in his car and began to chase the other officer at high speed. Cerra was eventually detained by the New Jersey State Police after hitting another car and a mailbox.
He was charged with aggravated assault, robbery, a weapons offense and driving while intoxicated after New Jersey State Police troopers responded to a call of an erratic driver on Red Lion Road. Cerra, an officer with the Franklin Township Police Department, was suspended without pay after his arrest.
Cerra appeared before Superior Court Judge Terrence R. Cook and was ordered released. Cook added the stipulation that Cerra report monthly to court officials, not have contact with the victim, and forfeit his guns, firearms dealers license and firearms ID card.
Burlington County Assistant Prosecutor Lisa Commentucci argued that Cerra should be held considering the nature of the charges but the judge disagreed. Commentucci pleaded with Cook that the off-duty officer, who was not identified, was driving in a personal vehicle when he observed Cerra allegedly driving erratically, “overshooting” an intersection, and twice veering off the road into shrubs.
“At this point, the officer … felt derelict in his duties if he didn’t attempt to undertake a motor vehicle stop or at least follow the defendant,” she said.
After Cerra pulled over, the two men exited their vehicles and Cerra, who appeared “to be staggering,” lifted his shirt and brandished a gun, according to Commentucci. Cerra then allegedly said, “I’m blue,” and the victim responded, “I’m blue, too,” and dropped to the ground and put his hands in the air.
The Lumberton officer was wearing his uniform pants and got his wallet out to show Cerra, who looked through it and tossed it, the state alleges. Cerra also allegedly pointed his gun at the officer’s head and chest area from about 3 to 5 feet away, Commentucci said.
In ordering his release, Cook found that Cerra does not pose a risk based on his lack of a criminal record, nor is he unlikely to appear in court.
The indictment dated Sept 20 charges Cerra with second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, third-degree aggravated assault, and fourth-degree aggravated assault. He also received summonses for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of liquor or drugs, and reckless driving.