MAURICE RIVER TOWNSHIP — Authorities say a 31-year-old alleged burglar was fatally shot by New Jersey State Police early Sunday while attempting to flee and becoming involved in a violent struggle with troopers.

Jimmy L. Testa of the Leesburg section of Maurice River township was pronounced dead at the scene following the incident, which began when troopers from the NJ State Police Port Norris barracks responded to a 911 call reporting a burglary at an unoccupied house on the 100-block of High Street at 12:20 a.m.

According to a statement from the Attorney General's office, a preliminary investigation shows that when police arrived at the location, one of the troopers saw Testa fleeing from the back of the house. Authorities say a struggle ensued as the trooper tried to detain Testa, who then broke free and ran behind a house across the street.

Troopers followed Testa to the other home in an attempt to apprehend him. When the reached the yard behind the house, which authorities say was "cluttered with scrap metal and junk," the suspect again began to struggle with officers.

"A civilian witness described the struggle as extremely violent," the Attorney General's office said in a statement.

During the struggle, one of the troopers - whose names have not been released - tried, unsuccessfully, to subdue Testa with pepper spray. As the man continued to resist arrest and fight with police, one of the troopers fired a single round from his service hangdun, striking Testa's upper body.

Police say emergency medical crews then responded. Testa was treated at the scene but succumbed to his injury and was pronounced dead, the Attorney General's office said. The troopers were taken to Inspira Medical Center in Elmer for treatment of injuries they sustained during the struggle with Testa.

Units from the Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team are continuing to investigate the incident and authorities say a steel pipe believed to have been used by Testa as a weapon was recovered from the area where he was shot. The Attorney General's office said no additional information is being released at this time due to the ongoing investigation.

Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at toniann.antonelli@townsquaremedia.com, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.

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