ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – A police officer remains in critical condition, but is showing signs of improvement, and a suspect is dead after two officers saw a robbery being committed outside an Atlantic City casino garage and exchanged gunfire.
The shooting happened around 2:30 a.m. Saturday after the officers saw three men trying to rob three others near a parking garage at Caesars casino, said acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Diane Ruberton.
The wounded officer was shot and injured as he exited his vehicle. The second officer returned fire and struck one of the suspects, who was found dead a short distance away.
Police arrested two men Saturday night in connection with the shooting. Martell Chisholm, 19, of Millville, and Demetrius Cross, 28, of Bridgeton, each were being held on two counts of attempted murder, three counts of robbery and weapons offenses, Ruberton said. It was not immediately known if they were represented by lawyers.
The dead suspect was identified as Jerome Damon, 25, of Camden.
Ruberton said local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies "worked tirelessly" on Saturday to identify and locate the suspects. The three victims also cooperated with police.
The wounded officer, whose name was not immediately released, was taken to nearby AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center. He underwent surgery Saturday morning and remained in critical condition Sunday afternoon, but is improving, state union delegate Keith Bennett told The Press of Atlantic City.
"We're getting reports that it's improving slightly and he's showing positive signs, which makes everybody extremely happy," said Bennett, of PBA Local 24.
During a news conference on Sunday to discuss the city's storm preparations, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian said the officer is "doing remarkably well."
Authorities had released video late Saturday afternoon showing six men they said were "persons of interest" in the case. They sought the public's help in identifying the men, who in the video are seen walking along a sidewalk in two separate groups of three people.
The New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association offered a $20,000 reward for information on the suspects.
"We ask for prayers for the officer, his family and the Atlantic City Police Department," said Patrick Colligan, the association's president.