ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – One police officer remains in critical condition and one suspect is dead in an exchange of gunfire following a car stop outside an Atlantic City casino early Saturday.
The shooting happened around 4 a.m. after officers stopped a car near a parking garage of Caesars casino.
At least one of the men in the car opened fire, Atlantic City police Chief Henry White. Investigators are looking for five people described as suspects or persons of interest, according to acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Diane Ruberton. Authorities released video later Saturday afternoon showing six men they said were “persons of interest” in the case.
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The shooting occurred when the officers “approached a group of individuals engaged in criminal activity,” prosecutors said in a statement, though they did not disclose further details about what the men were doing. The wounded officer was shot and injured as he exited his vehicle. The second officer returned fire and struck at least one of the suspects.
The struck officer, whose name was not released, was taken to nearby AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center. He underwent surgery Saturday morning.
The New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association offered a $20,000 reward for information on the remaining suspects in the shooting.
“Our hearts are heavy at this hour, but our resolve to capture these suspects remains undeterred,” said Patrick Colligan, the association’s president. “We ask for prayers for the officer, his family and the Atlantic City Police Department.”
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Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian called the shooting “a sad commentary on society.”
“These are good examples of what happens when too many of these assault weapons are in the wrong hands,” he said.
The shooting happened during the final big summer weekend for the shore resort and two days after a man fatally shot a store manager and then shot himself at a popular outlet shopping mall near where Saturday morning’s shooting occurred.
The shooting also happened as the resort town prepared for the effects of Tropical Storm Hermine, which was expected to start bringing wind and rain later Saturday.