.

UPDATE: Prisoner Disarms Gloucester Twp. Cop, Shoots and Injures 3 Officers

Eddie Jones III, of Willingboro, grabs a firearm from a police officer's holster, fires the gun and injures three cops before being fatally shot.

UPDATE 2:41 p.m. 12/30: Gloucester Township Police Sgt. James Garber will be released from Cooper University Hospital, where he was treated for a gunshot wound sustained in the police station shootout Friday morning, on Sunday afternoon.

He will be welcomed at his home in Gloucester Township's Somerdale section by members of the Police Department, Boy Scout Troop 811, Warriors' Watch, and local fire and and EMS departments.

----------

Three police officers injured when they were shot inside Gloucester Township police headquarters early Friday morning are on the mend, according to authorities.

The alleged shooter—Eddie Jones III, 39, of Willingboro—was killed in return fire at the scene, Gloucester Township Police Chief W. Harry Earle announced during a press conference held at the municipal building Friday afternoon.

The shooting incident occurred around 5:30 a.m.—more than four hours after Jones was taken into custody without incident on suspicion he was stalking an ex-girlfriend, Earle said.

While being processing at the police station, Jones tackled and was able to grab a gun from Ptl. Ruth Burns, then fired the officer's service weapon several times, Earle said. Burns had removed handcuffs from Jones.

Sgts. James Garber and Kevin Thyne returned fire on Jones, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities were not immediately saying how many times Jones had been shot or how many shots Jones fired from Burns' duty weapon, which was identified as a Sig Sauer P229 .40-caliber handgun. The .40-caliber Sig Sauer holds 13 total rounds, Earle said.

"Today, our community experienced an unprovoked violent act against those who serve and protect the residents of Gloucester Township," Mayor David Mayer said at the press conference. "We are so very fortunate and we thank God that our officers are expected to fully recover."

Jones was employed by the New Jersey Department of Corrections (DOC) as a civilian communications operator. He was most recently assigned to Garden State Youth Correctional Facility, in Yardville, Mercer County, and had been a DOC employee since September 1997.

"An officer was viciously attacked in our police headquarters and was disarmed," Earle said. "The suspect attacked the officers and unleashed a barrage of gunfire at the officers. The officers responded with quick and decisive action."

Garber, a 13-year veteran, required surgery at Cooper University Hospital for a gunshot wound to his abdomen, Earle said. He is still recovering at the Camden hospital.

Thyne, an eight-year veteran, was shot in his duty belt, causing a laceration to his stomach, and sustained a graze wound to his chin in the incident.

Burns, who has been on the police force for a year, was shot in her foot during the incident.

Thyne and Burns had been released from Cooper by the time the 3 p.m. press conference began.

"I am so thankful that all of the officers involved are expected to make a full recovery," Earle said.

(To read Earle's full statement to the media, click on the PDF above.)

Garber also was shot in the chest, but the bullet was stopped by his body armor, Earle said. He also sustained a graze wound to his head.

All three police officers have been placed on administrative leave—standard procedure following an officer-involved shooting.

Police officers often remove handcuffs from prisoners at various points during processing, according to Earle.

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

The police chief noted the ongoing investigation will include a review to determine whether Burns should have been armed at the time she removed the handcuffs from Jones and was attacked.

Deirdre Fedkenheuer, a DOC spokeswoman, referred all questions regarding Jones' involvement in the shooting incident to the Camden County Prosecutor's Office, which is investigating the incident with assistance from Gloucester Township Police Department.

Camden County Prosecutor Warren Faulk indicated early investigation has revealed Garber and Thyne were justified in their use of deadly force.

"At this point, all of the evidence points towards these officers returning fire," the prosecutor said. "After the weapon was secured from the one officer by the deceased and he fired the weapon, these officers returned fire. At this point, there's no evidence to indicate otherwise."

Earle told reporters surveillance video inside the police station captured the incident.

Police are not disclosing the location of Jones' arrest due to his apprehension being tied to an alleged incident of domestic violence.

Stay with Patch for updates on this developing story.

South Jersey Patch Regional Editor Tim Zatzariny Jr. contributed to this report.

badbul December 31, 2012 at 04:31 AM
This is why citizens need firearms! If a bad guy wants a gun, he will get one, even if the bad guy needs to kill a police officer to obtain a firearm.
G-Mann December 31, 2012 at 07:46 AM
Monk you are not sexist, you just have common sense. We are not all equal regardless of what the liberal fools out there think. Women are at a clear disadvantage in a physical confrontation with a male, period. This offender lost his life because of two things. The first is because he was a fool and he chose to attack this officer. The second is because this female officer was disarmed. I just thank God that the three officers survived and that the outcome was positive.
Joe R December 31, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Wow, a shooting happened at a police station, where there are guns and armed officers. The arrestee was surrounded by police with weapons but didn't care and grabbed for an officer's gun in spite of the fact that he would be shot and killed. The gun lovers say that the criminals never ever would attack where there are guns except in the cases when it does happen by someone with rage problems or mental problems or by someone who wants to commit suicide by cop. There was an armed guard at Columbine who actually shot at one of the teens, there were armed citizens right in the area where Gerald Loughner committed his crime. One of the people with a concealed gun nearly shot the wrong person. Fort Hood was not a gun free zone, Virginia Tech had its own police force and was not that far from the regular police force. Many are bashing the petite police officer and yet the gun nutters want teachers, some of whom are petite, to carry guns in schools. I'm no more off topic than the ranters who have spewed out their bilge so spare me your phoney outrage. I just wish the officers a speedy and complete recovery. Good union people who risk their lives and limbs every day.
Paul J. DiBartolo December 31, 2012 at 07:12 PM
How many times have you written the same old tired stuff, Joe? I think maybe you're beginning to believe it yourself. Well, you know what they say, say it enough times and... Frankly, I am trying to figure out exactly what your point is regarding what happened in the GT police station as if it had anything at all to do with what happened in Sandy Hook. Please. spare us all and give it a rest or at least come up with something where we can connect the dots.
Sean McCullen December 31, 2012 at 08:07 PM
The comments section on this article will be shut down this evening through Wednesday morning so Patch staffers can enjoy the New Year's holiday with family and friends. If you wish to comment on this article, please do so by 5 p.m. today.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »