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N.J. Officer Accused of Staging His Own Shooting, Faces Misconduct Charge

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. (AP) -- A police officer was accused of staging his own shooting after a security video showed no one else around at the time of the alleged assault.

Authorities said Officer Christopher LaFragola fired two shots into his bulletproof vest July 14, then radioed to headquarters that he had been shot, touching off a frantic hunt for a car carrying two suspects that didn't exist.

LaFragola, an 18-year veteran of the force in this Newark suburb, was charged with misconduct and could face seven years in prison.

He said he was ambushed by two people as he was checking out their car. Videotape from the surveillance camera at a nearby office building showed LaFragola's car -- and no one else -- in the area.

The recently divorced officer is being treated at a psychiatric facility, Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow said. He remains there and has not yet hired an attorney, Romankow said.

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