Five police officers in New Jersey were shot and wounded when an attempt at arresting a man erupted into a wild and bloody shootout. The man and a female companion were killed. Two of the police officers are in critical condition.
The drama unfolded on a street in Jersey city early this morning. Local police and Port Authority cops were staking out the man's car, hoping to arrest him in connection with an earlier shooting. When the man approached the car with the woman, police jumped into action. But the man pulled a gun and started firing. According to Jersey City Police Chief Thomas Comey, the man was wearing a strap of ammunition and carrying a pump-action shotgun, and was "fully prepared to go to war with us."
He shot up a police car, then ran into a building and into an apartment. And that was when, in Comey's words "all hell broke loose." As officers stood in the hallway preparing to move in, "the suspects shot through a wall or door... then it became a shootout." Police eventually shot and killed the man and woman, but not before five of their own were hit.
The two critically injured officers were carried to the street by fellow cops. One was shot in the neck, the other in the face. Dr. Nathaniel Holmes of the Jersey City Medical Center said the officer shot in the face arrived at the hospital in full cardiac arrest with no signs of life. "It's a miracle that we have made it to this point," Holmes said. "The officer is still very critical."
One cop was shot in the arm, and another hit in the leg. And yet another officer caught a break when a bullet hit his bullet-proof vest. Those three were in good condition.
Witnesses describe a wild scene. Charles Benjamin, said he heard "three loud booms, then what sounded like a bunch of firecrackers going off. I looked out the window and saw four cops huddled over a police officer lying on the ground."
Benjamin said a female police officer yelled at witnesses to take cover. "'Get your heads down, get your heads down,'" Benjamin said she shouted as she choked back tears. Then she cried repeatedly, according to Benjamin, "'I hate this city!'"