Two Long Island men face murder charges in New Jersey after gunshots fired from their vehicle killed the driver of a Honda Civic and left one of his passengers in critical condition, authorities said Thursday.
Douglas Coudrey, 22, of Eastport, and Kenneth Regan, 21, of Centereach, were both charged with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree attempted murder in connection with the shooting shortly after midnight Saturday on westbound Interstate 80 in Lodi, New Jersey, officials said.
Regan and Coudrey had followed the victims’ vehicle from Manhattan into New Jersey before pulling alongside it and firing multiple times. New Jersey State Police who responded to the scene found the black 2019 Honda stopped in a middle lane. Inside the car, they found Luis Perez, 27, of the Bronx, with gunshot wounds to his neck and chest. Perez was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a statement from the Bergen County prosecutor’s office. A passenger in the front seat, Jose Mercado, 24, also of the Bronx, was shot in the chest and remained in critical condition Thursday, officials said.
A second passenger was uninjured, prosecutors said.
A joint investigation by the New Jersey State Police and the Bergen County prosecutor’s office led officers Wednesday to a home in Eastport where they observed Coudrey, Regan and a third person leave the residence and get into a car, officials said. Detectives attempted to pull the car over, but the vehicle drove off and crashed into a fence a short distance away. The three were taken into custody, prosecutors said.
During a court-ordered search of the vehicle and Coudrey’s residence, authorities said, investigators seized a loaded .22-caliber rifle that had been modified for use as a submachine gun, along with a sawed-off shotgun.
New Jersey authorities also charged Coudrey and Regan with one count each of second-degree possession of a gun for an unlawful purpose. Regan was charged in Suffolk County with criminal possession of a loaded firearm, officials said. Coudrey was charged in Suffolk with criminal possession of a loaded firearm, possession of a controlled substance and felony escape, officials said. Both Regan and Coudrey were arraigned Thursday in First District Court in Central Islip. According to court records, Regan remains jailed after his bail was set at $300,000 bond and $150,000 cash. Regan is represented by the Suffolk County Legal Aid Society.
Christopher J. Cassar, Coudrey’s Huntington attorney, said his client's bail was set at $3 million bond and $1 million cash, which he called "outrageous."
“He’s maintaining his innocence,” said Cassar of Coudrey, who did not post bail. “The charges in New Jersey, he doesn’t know how the police are connecting him to that.”
New Jersey officials said Regan and Coudrey will be extradited to their state at a later date.