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$500G Bail For Man Charged With Shooting Teen In Bogus Clifton Phone Sale

Darren Watkins Jr
Darren Watkins Jr Photo Credit: MUGSHOT: Courtesy CLIFTON PD

CLIFTON, N.J. -- Law enforcement officers from various agencies combined to arrest an 18-year-old Passaic man after they said he shot another teen in the leg during a bogus cellphone sale.

The victim met Darren Watkins Jr. online and then arranged to get together Saturday morning at Lake and Van Winkle avenues, where police responded at 10:40 a.m. to reports of shots fired, Detective Lt. Robert Bracken told Daily Voice on Monday.

The 18-year-old Wayne victim was standing outside his car with a gunshot wound, Bracken said.

He told police that Watkins got in the passenger side and demanded money "in what was a premeditated robbery," the lieutenant said, and that the gun went off during a struggle.

Clifton firefighters took the victim to St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center for treatment. He was later released, Bracken said.

Meanwhile the Passaic County Sheriff's Department and officers from Passaic and Paterson joined their Clifton colleagues in establishing a perimeter.

Passaic detectives assisting Clifton investigators in identifying Watkins, who was nabbed a short time later near the corner of Parker Avenue and President Street in Passaic, Bracken said.

Clifton detectives recovered the weapon -- a 9mm Taurus -- in the city later that night in the city, he said.

Watkins was ordered held on $500,000 bail, charged with aggravated assault, robbery, weapons offenses and possession of hollow-point ammunition.

"When dealing with the sale or purchase of internet merchandise, the Clifton Police Department recommends meeting in a public place in order to complete the transaction," Bracken emphasized.

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