The owner of a Little Egg Harbor Township boat dealership is suing police in neighboring Tuckerton, whom he alleges failed to protect him from the man who shot him last year.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Thomas Jarvis Jr. by Natalie A. Zammitti Shaw on Nov. 4. Jarvis alleges the department failed to protect him from Donald Rutter, 53, of Tuckerton, who shot him Jan. 5, 2021, at Jarvis Marine on Radio Road, just outside the borough.
The shooting caused Jarvis “severe and permanent injuries,” according to the suit.
The suit names the Tuckerton Police Department, Chief Brian Olsen, Officer Nicholas Dimeo and Detective Robert Grant as defendants.
Jarvis alleges Grant and Dimeo failed to take Rutter into custody after Rutter made terroristic threats against the 55-year-old in their presence, adding they responded “with impunity,” the lawsuit states.
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The police officials “encouraged or tacitly approved Defendant Donald Rutter’s threats by failing to act and created the danger to Plaintiff,” the lawsuit states.
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Olsen could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Borough Clerk Jenny Gleghorn said Wednesday she couldn’t discuss the lawsuit because it’s pending litigation.
“The Tuckerton Police Department, like all other police departments, are held to very high standards, rules and regulations from various agencies, and I do believe the department and its employees meet those daily,” Gleghorn said in a statement.
The lawsuit also says borough police failed to seize Rutter’s firearms, which it says should have been done given his wife, Tara Rutter, filed a temporary restraining order against him in 2020.
Jarvis survived the shooting after being taken to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City Campus.
He has suffered both physical and emotional pain, and is left with having to pay for treatment, according to the lawsuit.
He’s also kept from his usual “occupation, duties, activities and business” because of the Police Department’s failure to prevent the incident.
Rutter was captured in Atlantic City by U.S. Marshals on Jan. 28, 2021, more than three weeks after the shooting.
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He pleaded guilty in June before Ocean County Superior Court Judge Wendel Daniels to aggravated assault and stalking charges.
He’s serving a five-year sentence at a state prison in Burlington County, according to the New Jersey Department of Corrections website.
Rutter was taken into DOC custody July 25, the website states. He’s eligible for parole April 28, 2025.
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