Five cops shot in N.J. shootout; 2 suspects dead
JERSEY CITY, N.J. — A running gunfight that erupted during a police stakeout of two armed robbery suspects ended Thursday morning with two suspects dead and five officers shot, two of them critically.
The shootout began in the street about 5 a.m. and ended when SWAT officers fought their way into an apartment where the man and woman had taken cover at about 6:45 a.m. The officers were met by shotgun blasts that ripped through the apartment building's walls and doors.
Residents of the complex said they awoke to the sounds of gunfire and police running down their halls.
Marlon Harrison, who lives on the second floor of the building, said he heard gunshots echo off the alleyway outside his window.
"It was like the Army out there," Harrison said.
Doctors at Jersey City Medical Center said Marc DiNardo, a 37-year-old Jersey City police officer, was in full cardiac arrest, with no signs of life, when he arrived for treatment. Doctors had to bring him back to life "five or six times" before they could stabilize him, Mayor Jerramiah Healy said.
He was shot on the left side of his face and will need reconstructive surgery to repair his jaw, sinuses and cheek, according to Dr. Bruno Molino, the medical center's trauma chief.
The other Jersey City police officers were identified as Michael Camacho, 25, Frank Molina, 35, and Marc Lavelle, 43. Port Authority official Dennis Mitchell, 35, was also wounded.
Camacho was in critical condition after being shot in the neck, but police Chief Tom Comey said he was awake after surgery and was able to give his family a "thumbs up."
The other three were treated for less serious injuries and have been released from Jersey City Medical Center, Healy said.
Police were still working to positively identify the bodies of the suspects, but said they have been investigating Hassan Shakur, 32, and Amanda Anderson, 22, in connection with a June 18 armed robbery in Jersey City where a man was shot with the same shotgun, police Chief Tom Comey said.
Police identified the 2005 Ford Focus used in the earlier robbery, reported stolen out of South Carolina, from surveillance video. Two officers had been told that the suspects moved it each morning to avoid getting a ticket, and police had staked it out.
The gunfight began when the suspects came out to the car Thursday morning. Two officers, one in a marked police vehicle and another on foot, approached the car.
Authorities said the woman did not have a firearm, but her partner pulled out his weapon - a pump-action shotgun wrapped in what police called a monk's robe - and began shooting. He blew out the police car's windshield and shot one of the officers in the leg, police said.
"This individual came fully ready to go to war with us," said Comey. "This is a gun meant for nothing other than to hunt a man."
President Barack Obama, in town for a fundraiser supporting Gov. Jon S. Corzine's re-election bid, mentioned the shooting and said he had been in contact with Healy.
"It's a reminder what our law enforcement officials do each and every day to protect us and our families, and we need to keep them in mind as we go forward," Obama said.
Paramedics said the injured officers who could speak thanked them profusely as they were treating them and transporting them to the medical center. Paramedic Ashley Grillot said officers carried DiNardo out of the building by the arms and legs. The extent of his injuries made it difficult for them to establish an airway, she said.
"There was blood everywhere," Grillot said.