Longtime Beachwood Sgt. Bruce Harris fired one shot at late last Thursday night and only one shot. It struck him in the chest and killed him, Executive Assistant Prosecutor Michel A. Paulhus said today.
There was no truth to the rumors that the 52-year-old Beachwood man had been shot in the face, he said.
"One gunshot wound to the chest was proven to be fatal," Paulhus said.
died at the scene, in the parking lot of the High Velocity Bar and Grill on Route 166. Authorities say Harris drew his service weapon after Tanouye repeatedly refused commands to put his .25 caliber semi-automatic handgun down.
Harris was placed on administrative leave, standard protocol in cases like this, Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford has said. The state Attorney General's Office was notified of the shooting the night it occurred, she has said.
Harris was on duty, in uniform and in a marked police cruiser when he noticed a "disturbance" in the High Velocity parking lot around 10:50 p.m. that night, Paulhus has said.
When he confronted Tanouye, he refused to respond to commands to drop the gun, according to authorities.
The Prosecutor's Office immediately began a multi-faceted investigation into the shooting.
Part of the investigation will focus on whether Tanouye legally owned the handgun, Paulhus said.
"We will attempt to establish ownership and the origin of the weapon," he said.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has records of all guns purchased legally in the United States and any legal transfers of firearms, Paulhus said.
Authorities are also waiting for the results of toxicological tests done on Tanouye, which could take six to eight weeks to come back, said Paulhus.
"An investigation is being conducted by my office pursuant to the Attorney General’s guidelines concerning the use of force," Ford said.
Anyone with any information about the shooting is asked to contact Detective Thomas Tiernan of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 929-2027.
Tanouye had a lengthy criminal record. He was last admitted to state prison in March 2008 after being sentenced on one count of making terroristic threats to kill, one count of possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes. He was released on March 13, 2010, from South Woods State Prison.The charges stemmed from a May 14, 2006 incident, according to the state Department of Corrections website.
On May 5, 2006, Tanouye impersonated a public servant, a charge which he also served prison time for. He used aliases such as Gregory Bartholomew, Bartholemew Dangalow, Mark Dangelo and Mark Tonouge, according to the DOC website.
His prison term was a mandatory 48-month sentence that carried a maximum of seven years.