Elnardo Chandler
Photo: Smyrna Police Department
Photo: Smyrna Police Department

JUST IN: Man wanted in New Jersey homicide arrested after Smyrna traffic stop

A traffic stop in Smyrna on Thursday led to the arrest of a New Jersey man accused of beating and stomping another man to death last summer.

Elnardo Chandler, 29, had been on the run since July, when New Jersey authorities announced he would be charged with reckless manslaughter in the death of 29-year-old Glen Mackie. The Jersey City man was attacked from behind by two men as he walked down the street, NJ.com reported.

Prosecutors in Hudson County, N.J., accused Chandler of punching Mackie in the back of the head and, after he was taken to the ground, stomping on him. An autopsy showed Mackie suffered a skull fracture and died of blunt force trauma, according to the online news site.

Another man, 25-year-old Bruce Stewart, is already in custody in connection with the deadly attack. Chandler had evaded capture for nearly a year — until he was pulled over Thursday for allegedly speeding on Windy Hill Road.

Smyrna police Sgt. E. Smith knew something was strange when he saw the car’s driver and passenger switch places as he walked up to the window to speak to them, a department spokesman said.

The driver, later identified as Chandler, handed over a driver’s license for a Thomas Hasan Lopez. After running that name through a criminal database, Smith determined the license was suspended, according to spokesman Sgt. Louis Defense.

“As Sgt. Smith attempted to take Mr. Lopez into custody, Mr. Lopez fled on foot,” Defense said in a news release. “However, he was quickly apprehended by other Smyrna police officers who were working with Sgt. Smith conducting traffic enforcement.”

Not long after he was processed into the Smyrna City Jail, police got a phone call from a Hudson County detective informing them of Chandler’s identity and his status as a fugitive.

Chandler, who had recently been staying in Marietta, has also been tied to an attempted homicide in South Carolina, according to authorities. 

He is expected to be extradited to New Jersey to face prosecution there, police said. He is being held in the Cobb County Jail.

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