An FBI agent was shot and killed Thursday during a shootout with three bank robbery suspects in north central New Jersey, FOX News has confirmed.
A law enforcement official said FBI agents were investigating a string of recent bank robberies in central New Jersey when they came upon the robbery suspects leaving a bank near Route 22 in Readington.
A shootout ensued.
Two suspects were caught by police but one was still at large.
WABC reported that police said the FBI agent was ambushed in the parking lot while doing surveillance of a crew of bank robbers at the PNC Bank at 3510 Route 22 just before 11:30 a.m.
The agent was reportedly tailing a crew of bank robbers when he was ambushed. A gunfight ensued in the parking lot of the Arvins Garden Center at 3535 Route 22, across the street from the bank, in the Whitehouse Section of Readington.
Brian Agans, who works in the service office of Garden State Engine and Equipment across the Route 22 from the bank, heard a "pop, pop, pop" while working indoors. He ran outside to make sure a mechanic wasn't having a problem with equipment, but instead saw a mass of law enforcement swarming in.
"All hell was breaking loose. I've never seen so many police and authorities take action ever in my life," Agans said.
One law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the agent's family had not been told of his death, said the agent was alive when brought to University Hospital in Newark by helicopter, but efforts to save him failed.
"He didn't make it," the official said.
Two suspects were captured and one was being sought in nearby woods, officials said. Television station helicopter footage showed police putting two people in handcuffs into a car.
Dawn Graner, a bookkeeper at Arvins Garden Center off Route 22, said authorities told employees not to leave the building because they're "looking for somebody," but she said they didn't say anything else.
State police were coordinating the search for a suspect who remained on the loose in woods bordering Hunterdon and Somerset counties, said state police Capt. Al Della Fave.
Close to 100 officers fanned out in the area near Fox Hollow Golf Club to look for the suspect, described as a possible Hispanic male, about 6-foot-2, wearing a sweat shirt and missing a shoe. He was last seen heading on foot toward Route 78, near Route 22.
Della Fave said state police helicopters and K-9 units were assisting in the search for the man, who may be armed.
Police in the area had secured several buildings and barns and were urging residents and business owners to lock their doors and not to approach the suspect.
"He didn't hesitate in shooting an FBI agent," Della Fave said.
One suspect, who is described as a black male with a tattoo near his right eye, was nabbed by police shortly after the shooting. He could be seen sitting handcuffed against a car, with both shoes off, and surrounded by SWAT team members with guns. Another suspect was similarly dressed.
Footage from TV news helicopters shows the front of one car pointed at the side of another behind crime-scene tape.
Brothers Justin and Eddie McGlynn, whose grandparents own Arvins, had been out making a delivery during the shootout.
"We got the call and they said, 'Don't come back,"' said Justin McGlynn, 20.
Both McGlynns and their grandparents, Vincent and Esther DeStefano, live behind the produce store.
Giovanni Finazzo, owner of Mangia Bella, a nearby pizzeria, said, other than a string of break-ins several years ago, there is not much crime in the area.
"Are you kidding?" Finazzo asked. "After 7 o'clock, you don't even see a ghost in this town."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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