Three New Jersey police officers shot; gunman reported dead

GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, New Jersey Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:10am IST

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The skyline of Lower Manhattan in New York is seen behind the shipping docks in Newark, New Jersey, December 27, 2012.

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GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, New Jersey (Reuters) - Three New Jersey police officers were shot and wounded on Friday at their police station, and one was in surgery for his wounds, a hospital official said.

Local TV news reported that the suspected gunman was killed in the exchange of gunfire at the police station in Gloucester Township, New Jersey, about 16 miles (26 km) from Philadelphia. The TV report said the suspect had been brought in for a domestic incident.

"A violent struggle occurred while the suspect was being processed," Gloucester Deputy Police Chief David Harkins said, according to Philadelphia TV station NBC10. The man was able to grab a gun and then opened fire.

The gunman was killed by police during the confrontation, Gloucester Police Chief W. Harry Earle said, according to the NBC10 report.

Gloucester Township Police declined to comment on the incident or to confirm the NBC10 report. An officer answering the phone said a press statement would be issued later, and a press conference was scheduled for Friday afternoon.

The three wounded police officers, two men and a woman, were brought to Cooper University Hospital shortly after 6 a.m. EST, hospital spokeswoman Lori Shaffer said.

Two of the officers suffered minor wounds, but one of the three, a male, required surgery, Shaffer said. She had no more information on the extent of the officer's wounds.

Part of the Gloucester Township municipal complex, which houses the police department, was cordoned off by yellow police tape on Friday. Residents described it as a quiet community.

"It's really a safe neighborhood," said Kim Kavanaugh, 47, who lives across the street from the complex with her husband and two grown children.

Her husband Don Kavanaugh, 49, said he arrived home from his overnight work shift about 5 a.m. "About 6 o'clock I saw a bunch of flashing lights. I didn't think nothing of it, I see flashing lights in and out of there all the time," he said.

The incident follows several recent multiple shootings in the United States, and comes two weeks after a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

One week ago in western Pennsylvania, a man with a pistol fatally shot three people and then opened fire on police. Three officers were injured in that incident, one in a collision from a car chase with the gunman, another from bullet fragments to the face and a third who was struck with gunfire to the chest but survived because he was wearing a bulletproof vest.

(Additional reporting and writing by Dan Burns in New York; Editing by Paul Thomasch, Claudia Parsons and David Gregorio)

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