On Friday morning, a man who was arrested for stalking an ex-girlfriend overtook a police officer inside the Gloucester Township, New Jersey, police station, took her gun, and then shot her and two other officers before being shot to death by officers. All three of the officers who were shot are expected to recover.
The suspect, Eddie Jones III, 39, of Willingboro, overcame Officer Ruth Burns in the police station, which is a suburb of Philadelphia in Southern New Jersey. The two officers who came to Burns’ aid opened fire on the suspect, killing him.
“This morning, the reality of a cruel world fell upon our doorstep,” said Mayor David Mayer. “We thank God our officers are expected to fully recover.”
Shot multiple times was Sgt. James Garber, a veteran of the force for 13 years. Garber had to undergo emergency surgery for gunshot wounds to the abdomen. He was saved by his bulletproof vest. Garber suffered a graze wound to his head as well.
An eight-year veteran of the force, Sgt. Kevin Thyne, suffered a gunshot wound in his duty belt. Burns, a rookie officer, was shot in the foot.
Jones, the suspect, was a civilian employee for the New Jersey Department of Corrections. He was arrested for allegedly stalking his ex-girlfriend’s home after a call to police said a suspicious man was lurking around the home at 1 a.m.
When Jones was transported to police headquarters his handcuffs were removed for a short time during processing. At this time, he attacked Burns, knocking her to the ground and taking her weapon, according to Chief Harry Earle.
“As part of standard practices in many cases, the handcuffs are removed for a brief time from Mr. Jones, and he suddenly attacked the officer; tackling her to the ground, striking her on the head, and removing her department issued gun from her holster,” explained Chief Earle.
Earle said that Jones “unleashed a barrage of gunfire” at the police. Jones was hit with multiple shots and was pronounced dead at the scene. Two of the officers have already been released from the hospital as of Friday night. Sgt. Garber is listed in stable condition.
“These guardians in blue leave their families and leave their homes and their families to protect our homes. So today we are there for them and for their families,” said Mayor David Mayer.
The state’s attorney general is going to review the shooting, which is customary procedure regarding all shootings that involve police officers. Warren Faulk, the prosecutor for Camden County, said that the first bit of evidence shows that police officers responded to gunfire that was started by the suspect. Faulk also said that the officers returned fire to save their lives and the lives of their fellow officers.