2 Police Detectives Shot, 1 Suspect Killed In Trenton - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

2 Police Detectives Shot, 1 Suspect Killed In Trenton

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Trenton news conference on gun violence Trenton news conference on gun violence
One of the officers shot; photo from http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2013/08/two_trenton_police_officers_shot_and_wounded_in_east_ward.html One of the officers shot; photo from http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2013/08/two_trenton_police_officers_shot_and_wounded_in_east_ward.html
Eric McNeil, the suspect Eric McNeil, the suspect

Two police detectives were shot and a suspected gunman was killed Thursday morning during an investigation into a domestic violence situation in Trenton, officials say.

The shooting happened around 8:30 a.m. on the 5900 block of Hobart Avenue, says acting Attorney General John Hoffman.

Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph L. Bocchini, Jr. said both detectives were taken into surgery at Capital Health Regional Medical Center. The wounded officers have been identified by multiple sources as Jim Letts, a 15-year veteran of the police force, and Edgar Rios, a 30-year veteran. The suspect is Eric McNeil.

Letts was shot in the shoulder and in the lower abdomen, and listed in stable condition, while Rios was shot in the torso and abdomen with two bullets and reported to be in critical condition.

Officials said Letts was out of surgery by 10:30 a.m. and "doing well." At a news conference at 4:30, Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph L. Bocchini, Jr. said that officer Letts should be out of the hospital in a few days. Officer Rios' underwent "extensive trauma surgery"and is said to be in "stable" condition.

News site NJ.com has more background on the two police veterans, you can find it all here.

According to Bocchini, the detectives were there to follow-up on a domestic violence investigation and had the victim with them as they pulled up to the property. When the officers got to the house, they were "basically ambushed," says acting Acting Attorney General John Hoffman.

"The suspect, who was subsequently shot and killed, exited the home, and the victim said, 'There he is.' The officers got out of the car," Bocchini said. "When they got out of the car, the suspect immediately pulled out a gun and began firing at the two officers. The officers responded, firing back, and the suspect was shot and killed."

Bocchini said the information that police first received was that the McNeil had left, but he apparently returned by the time the detectives took the victim back to the scene to gather evidence and more information.

According to the abuse victim's aunt, the suspect, 23 year old Eric McNeil, beat up her niece very badly and killed her dog.

Acting Attorney General Hoffman also corroborated that the woman's dog had been killed during the original dispute. In a later news conference, prosecutor Bocchini said that the dog was a three month old puppy, and had been shot.

Bocchini talked about the danger officers face when responding to these types of calls: "You know, a police officer never knows what they're going to walk into in a domestic violence situation. You're dealing with, in many instances, irrational people, emotions flying high. You don't know if alcohol is involved, drugs are involved. There's usually a situation, in most instances, where a woman has been beaten, as it was in this case."

SkyFOX was over the scene and showed one woman, apparently overcome with emotion, being placed into an ambulance at the scene.

The New Jersey Attorney General's Office has also called a 2:45 p.m. news conference to discuss "new law enforcement and prosecutorial initiatives to address the gun violence in Trenton."

Acting Attorney General Hoffman also outlined two new initiatives to curb gun violence in the news conference. The first initiative, called TIDE, will put more detectives and troopers on the streets to curb crime in the most violent areas. The second initiative, called TAG, will fully utilize the NJ's tough gun laws to crack down on people who illegally possess firearms and convicted criminals who possess firearms in public. The initiative will get rid of plea deals that allow some convicted to serve less time.

Hobart Avenue is closed between Olden and Logan avenues as police continue to investigate at the scene.

The Community Blood Council of New Jersey has shipped emergency blood to help out the officers shot this morning. They are calling for Red Cell and Platelet donations immediately to replenish their inventories. You can donate here.

Stay with FOX 29 News and MyFOXPhilly.com for more on this breaking news story.

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