02/09/2004

Sheriff's Deputy Kills Himself

Officer Down: James P. McKeown - [Camden County, New Jersey]

Stratford man dies after disturbance

By JASON LAUGHLIN, The Courier-Post

A Camden County, N.J. sheriff's deputy who shot himself after a weekend disturbance at a township hotel died Sunday morning, authorities said.

James P. McKeown, 60, of Stratford, died from a self-inflicted stomach wound at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, police said.

McKeown, a sheriff's deputy for more than 16 years, got into an argument with a female about 11 p.m. Saturday at the Holiday Inn Select Bridgeport on Center Square Road in the Bridgeport section of the township, police said.

Officers responding to the disturbance call found McKeown in the hotel parking lot.

As they started to speak with him, McKeown pulled a handgun from his waistband and shot himself once in the stomach, police said.

Officers rushed to his attention and provided medical care until the Logan Township EMS arrived, police said.

A South Star helicopter airlifted McKeown to Cooper, where he died at 7:38 a.m. Sunday. No other details about the incident were available Sunday.

Neither Camden County Sheriff Michael W. McLaughlin nor other sheriff's department representatives could be reached for comment.

McKeown was in the news almost exactly one year ago.

He was working as a guard in Camden County Superior Court when he was knocked to the floor and kicked repeatedly by a defendant as he and other officers tried to handcuff him on Feb. 6, 2003.

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