Wayne Parry, The Associated Press December 24, 2000, Sunday Copyright 2000 Bergen Record Corp. The Record (Bergen County, NJ) December 24, 2000, Sunday; All Editions
(SOUTH RIVER, N.J. Police released a statement on behalf of Chief Wesley Bomba and Lt.
John Bouthillette expressing gratitude to all those who helped during the chaos that erupted Thursday morning as Edward Abrams Jr. took to the streets with a shotgun, blasting away at people, houses, and cars before being shot dead by police.
"From the quick responses of support from all of the law enforcement personnel throughout the state of New Jersey to the skill and expertise of the emergency teams and medical personnel of the hospital, we are grateful beyond words, "the statement read.
"It is at these times when we realize the importance of others, the people you know, the ones you have yet to meet," it continued. "Your families and friends are lucky to have you. We are inspired to be associated with you."
The officers remained in critical but stable condition Saturday in the intensive care unit of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.
The South River Borough Council met Saturday morning to formally appoint Capt. Michael Trojanowski as acting police chief until Bomba is able to return to work.
Police said ballistics tests indicated that Detective Eric Gartner fired the shot that killed Abrams as he turned his shotgun toward Gartner. Abrams was also wounded in the side by one of three shots Bomba was able to get off before collapsing from shotgun wounds to his right groin and shoulder.
Gartner, one of two backup officers pursuing Abrams, is undergoing crisis counseling to help him deal with the aftermath of the incident, police said.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Glenn Berman said Abrams was angered by an argument he had with his mother at the house they shared. Police still don't know what the argument concerned, noting that Joyce Abrams has declined to be interviewed by investigators, and is not legally required to do so.