FAIRFIELD, NJ – Two New Yorkers are in jail after traveling to Fairfield, New Jersey and randomly assaulting customers and workers at a local Quick Chek convenience store.
The Fairfield Police Department announced the arrest of Antonio Lopis, 34 of College Point, N.Y. and Christopher Sanchez, 35 of Fresh Meadows, N.Y. on a variety of criminal charges for an incident that occurred on January 17, 2021. On that date, at approximately 6:26 AM, the Fairfield Police Department received a 9-1-1 call reporting an unknown male assaulting people in the parking lot of the Quick Check convenience store located at the intersection of Passaic Avenue and Little Falls Road. Upon police arrival officers found a 67-year-old male, who is employed as a gas attendant at the store, in need of medical attention. Witnesses advised the police that the suspect had left in a white Jeep Grand Cherokee before officers arrived. The attendant was later transported to a local hospital for treatment.
As the officers were attending to the medical needs of the victim, witnesses observed the suspect vehicle drive past and pointed it out to the officers on scene. At this point, Officer James Ciampi attempted to stop the vehicle on Little Falls Road. It is alleged that the Jeep did not stop and instead accelerated its speed in an active attempt to elude the officer. The vehicle was finally stopped on Pompton Avenue in Little Falls. It was found to be operated by Lopis.
As the officers began to investigate, it is alleged that Lopis displayed signs and symptoms consistent with someone under the influence to include the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath, slow and slurred speech and bloodshot and water eyes. As a result, field sobriety tests were administered and, based upon the totality of the circumstances, Lopis was placed under arrest. It is alleged a small quantity of suspected marijuana was also found in the vehicle and under his control.
While the officers were dealing with Lopis it is alleged that Sanchez, who was found to be a passenger in the Jeep, also appeared to be intoxicated and was acting in a disorderly manner by refusing to follow the direction of officers during the initial investigation and screaming at them. He was also placed under arrest. While seated in the rear of the police car awaiting to be transported to the police station, Sanchez allegedly was able to manipulate his handcuffs from behind his back to his front and attempted to destroy the in-car camera that is in place to record suspects while in the rear seat of the police car.
As the investigation of the incident at the Quick Check continued, officers were able to review the store’s surveillance video. It allegedly showed Sanchez was the actor in what appears to be an unprovoked aggravated assault on the gas station attendant. The video allegedly clearly shows Sanchez walking into the convenience store’s parking lot from the south side. He is seen first approaching a 2021 Toyota that is in front of the store. He kicks this vehicle and then is seen yelling at its driver. He then allegedly walks up to the attendant and strikes him in the upper body. The video then shows Sanchez throwing the attendant to the ground. After the assault, Sanchez continues to walk around the parking lot of the convenience store. He then gets into the Jeep and it drives away.
While at headquarters, it is alleged that Lopis refused to submit samples of his breath as provided for by law. In addition, Sanchez began to create a dangerous condition in the cell he was contained in so officers went in to the cell to mitigate the condition. It was at this time that it is alleged that Sanchez attempted to push past the officers in an attempt to flee from the cell. He was restrained but assaulted two officers.
“From what we can tell, the Jeep and its occupants never went into the convenience store nor did they attempt to get gasoline nor did any of them have any contact with the victims prior to the assault on the attendant or the act of criminal mischief in kicking the car. Instead, Sanchez’ actions in the parking lot appear to be a total random act of violence and aggression towards two completely innocent people” said Chief Anthony G. Manna.
Lopis was charged with eluding police, possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana, driving under the influence, refusal to submit to a breath test and eleven motor vehicle violations.
Sanchez was charged with aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, attempted escape, disorderly conduct, two counts of criminal mischief, obstruction of justice and deliberately destroying a camera in a police vehicle.
Both individuals were remanded to the Essex County Correctional Facility pending a bail review by the Superior Court in Newark, N.J. Police said, It should be noted that the charges against Lopis and Sanchez are merely allegations and that both are presumed innocent until either pleads guilty or is found guilty in a court of law.