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Off-duty Police Officer Shoots Two Suspects in Barber Shop

March 14, 2002

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Off-duty Police Officer Shoots Two Suspects in Barber Shop

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JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) -- An off-duty police officer shot and wounded two Jersey City men who tried to rob a barber shop, police said. One man was shot four times but fled a half-mile before police followed a blood trail to find him.

Officer Marcelo Ona, a two-year veteran, was sitting in the barber's chair at Nu Flavor Cutz at about 8:20 p.m. Thursday when two men burst in with guns, pointed the weapons at about 10 people in the shop and demanded money, Deputy Police Director Edgar Martinez said.

One man put the gun to Ona's head, then began shooting at others in the shop who started to run, Martinez said. No one was injured.

Ona then pulled out his gun and ordered the men to freeze, but they began firing at him, Martinez said. Ona returned fire, shooting James Manley III, 31, four times and James Caine, 18, once, Martinez said.

Ona and other customers apprehended Caine, but Manley ran to his car and then an apartment building about a half mile way, leaving a trail of blood from gunshot wounds to his chest, groin and hand, Martinez said.

Police found him inside a building about half a mile from the barber shop, Martinez said.

Manley, who was hospitalized in critical condition, and Caine, hospitalized in fair condition, face charges of armed robbery, aggravated assault, aggravated assault of a police officer and weapons possession.

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