2 NJ cops shot, suspect killed in shootout

Officers were shot upon exiting their squad at a residence where they planned to arrest the gunman for domestic violence

By Barbara Boyer
The Philadelphia Inquirer

TRENTON — Two Trenton police officers were wounded, one critically, and a man wanted for domestic violence was killed during a shootout on a residential street Wednesday morning, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office said.

The officers, who were conscious and talking when help arrived, were taken at Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton, officials said.

Detective Edgar Rios, who was shot in the back and in critical condition, remained in surgery as of 11 a.m., authorities said. Detective James Letts, who was shot in the shoulder, was in stable condition following surgery.

Rios and Letts were planning to make an arrest in a domestic violence case on the unit block of Hobart Avenue, in the Wilbur II neighborhood, about 8:45 a.m. when they were shot while getting out of their car.

“He just opened fire,” Prosecutor Joseph Bocchini Jr. said of the gunman.

At least one the wounded officers returned fire, killing the shooter.

Bocchini said events leading up to the shooting started unfolding about 2 a.m. and when officers responded to a domestic violence call on Hobart Avenue and took the victim, who had been beaten, back to a police station.

After talking to the victim, police obtained an arrest warrant for her assailant and the two detectives accompanied the victim back her house, Bocchini said.

Just as they were getting out the car, the wanted man opened fire, the prosecutor said.

Bocchini described the couple in the domestic violence case as a girlfriend and boyfriend.

“When you go out to investigate a domestic violence dispute, you never know what’s going to happen,” the prosecutor said. “It can become volatile.”

Particularly, he added, if someone is “crazy and has a gun.”

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Copyright 2013 The Philadelphia Inquirer

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