‘Despicable, cowardly, heinous’ — $40K reward after NJ cop couple’s home attacked
CAMDEN — The manhunt continues for whoever fired at least a half dozen gunshots into the home of a married police couple and their 10-month-old child late Tuesday night.
Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday said he was "shocked and disgusted by the despicable and cowardly" act of violence.
"Thankfully no one in the family was hurt but now we need to find those responsible for this heinous act and bring them to justice," he said.
A reward of $40,000 from various law enforcement groups has been offered for the information leading to the arrest of a suspect.
Authorities have not publicly identified any suspects and were not sure how many people were involved or what motivated the shooting.
The couple, who had been on the Camden County police force for two and four years, respectively, were on the second floor of their Clinton Street home when gunfire rang out about 11:46 p.m.
At least two bullets pierced the front door and detectives later found seven spent shell casings outside the home.
Police believe that a 1998 Honda Odyssey with a temporary paper tag, which was parked in the area, may have been involved. The minivan has been towed.
The shooting comes within a week that officers were shot by gunmen in unprovoked attacks in California and Arizona.
On Saturday, a gunman ambushed two Los Angeles County deputies sitting in a squad car. The 31-year-old female deputy and 24-year-old male deputy are expected to recover after undergoing surgery. The assailant remains at large.
In Phoenix, a 68-year-old man was charged after shooting a federal security officer who was inspecting a delivery truck outside the U.S. courthouse. The guard, a retired Michigan state trooper, was hit once but was wearing a protective vest. The gunman's ex-wife said he has a long history of mental illness and helped turn him into authorities.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva on Monday blamed angry rhetoric against the police for making deputies' work more difficult.
“They’re out there doing their job and yet we have people fanning the flames of hatred and just turning up the volume when we don’t need it. We need to be turning it down,” Villanueva said. “Particularly our elected officials and civic leaders and sports figures, they need to start emphasizing trust in the system, due process.”
Villanueva did not specify any particular people but many politicians and athletes have harshly criticized police and called for defunding departments in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minneapolis after a white officer pressed a knee to his neck, and shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Murphy, a progressive Democrat who participated this summer in anti-racism and Black Lives Matter demonstrations but has not supported efforts to "defund the police," has touted the state's efforts to improve police accountability and community relations.
"Our police are not just the women and men who protect our communities. In many cases they are members of the communities where they serve," Murphy said Friday while discussing the Camden shooting. "They are our friends; they are our neighbors."
Louis Cappelli, Camden County's Democratic freeholder board director, put it more bluntly Thursday night.
"This is some soul-less scumbag who has decided to shoot up the home of police officers and we're not going to tolerate it," he said. "We're not going to accept it."
Half of the reward money is coming from the NJ COP SHOT Program administered by the N.J. State PBA Survivor and Welfare Fund. Another $10,000 is offered by the FBI, while the ATF and the Camden County FOP Lodge 218 each have offered $5,000.
Includes material copyright 2020 by The Associated Press.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.