3 officers shot at N.J. police station

Posted: December 30, 2012

A NEW JERSEY Corrections Department employee accused of stalking his ex-girlfriend was killed by police Friday after he grabbed an officer's gun and exchanged fire before police fatally wounded him .

Eddie Jones III, 39, of Willingboro, N.J., was pronounced dead inside the Gloucester Township police station. Three officers were injured, but all are expected to fully recover.

The incident happened at 5:30 a.m. in the station at the Gloucester Township Municipal Building on Chews Landing Road.

Gloucester Township Police Chief Harry Earle described the incident during a press conference Friday:

Officer Ruth Burns, a first-year officer, was processing Jones' arrest and had removed his handcuffs when Jones tackled her, hit her in the head and grabbed a .40-caliber handgun from her holster.

Burns yelled for help and two officers, Sgt. James Garber and Sgt. Kevin Thyne, who were standing in the next room, immediately responded.

Jones began firing at Garber and Thyne, who returned fire, striking Jones an unknown number of times.

Thyne, an 8-year veteran of the force, was shot in the belt, causing a laceration to his abdomen, and suffered a graze wound to the chin. Burns was shot in her foot. Garber, a 13-year veteran, was shot multiple times, including at least once in the chest, which was stopped by his vest. He also was shot in the abdomen and suffered a graze wound to the head.

Earle said Thyne and Burns were treated and released from Cooper University Hospital. Garber was in stable condition at Cooper after surgery for the abdominal wound.

The three officers have been placed on administrative leave, standard procedure for police-involved shootings, Earle said.

Jones was arrested at 1:07 a.m. after police responded to a report of a suspicious person walking around the outside a home in Gloucester Township, Earle said.

When officers arrived, they saw a vehicle leaving the area that matched the description given by the caller. They stopped the vehicle and spoke with the driver, who was identified as Jones, a civilian communications officer with the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

Officers learned that Jones was allegedly stalking the home of a former girlfriend.

Earle said Jones was taken into custody without incident and was set to be charged with numerous offenses, including stalking, a felony.

Earle said it is common for suspects to have their handcuffs removed during processing, but could not say whether protocol was followed in this particular case.

"Obviously, during the course of nearly all the processing regarding an arrested person it is necessary, at times, to take off those handcuffs, whether it be for fingerprinting, signing papers and preparing other documents," he said.

The Camden County Prosecutor's Office is handling the case, which will then be forwarded to the state Attorney General's Office.


On Twitter: @ChroniclesofSol

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