Officers Arrest Grieving Family Members During Wake
ELIZABETH – City police are still searching for suspects in the slaying of 20-year-old Curtis Theodore, the eighth person to be killed in Elizabeth this year.
Theodore, a letter carrier with the Scotch Plains Post Office, was shot in the back of the head while at the wheel of his 1998 Ford Taurus. Police discovered his body at 5:40 a.m. on Friday, June 13.
Investigators are considering the possibility that three to four people were in Theodore’s car at the time of his death, according to Detective Sgt. Stephen Negrey. According to Theodore’s family, he had met a few people he knew late Thursday night and agreed to give them a ride in his care. Police said that nothing had been taken from Theodore’s wallet when his body was found.
Friends and family members gathered at the home of Theodore’s mother, Shantal, to mourn their loss that evening. Police officers responded twice that evening on calls of a large, disorderly group outside, according to Negrey. Both times, the officers told the group of people to leave or go inside, Negrey said. Young people were also drinking alcohol, the detective said. The officers left without taking action both times, but they were called back again at 7:39 p.m.
The officers approached the house and asked Shantal to help move the crowd inside, according to Negrey. She refused, Negrey said, and her brother, David Romulus, insisted that the officers leave.
When the officers tried to arrest him, they were blocked by Shantal Theodore and her daughter Jessica, according to Negrey. Police arrested all three grieving family members, as well as family friend Walter Janvier, according to Negrey. They were charged with disorderly conduct and with
The victim’s mother, Shantal Theodore, as well as his uncle, David Romulus and his sister, Jessica Theodore, were all arrested on June 13 and were charged with disorderly conduct and with smashing a police cruiser’s rear window. They spent the night in jail.
The Theodore family believes that the officers overreacted and showed a lack of respect for their circumstances, and Shantal and Jessica said that police used excessive force when arresting them. Negrey said that proper procedures were used and the mother and daughter struggled with officers.
Curtis Theodore was a graduate of Elizabeth High School and a member of Second Baptist Church in Roselle, where he sang in the choir. He had planned to take engineering courses this summer at Union County College.