CAMDEN, NJ — The home of two Camden police officers — a male and female couple — was struck by half a dozen bullets Tuesday night with their 10-day-old newborn inside.
Camden County Police Chief Joe Wysocki, other law enforcement members and city officials are asking for the public’s help in locating what is thought to be at least three suspects.
“It hurts...I have 400 officers out there. Everybody's hurt at this point. There's a lot of anxiety. We see what's going on around the country. There are great residents here in the city. I'm not going to let [the shooters] change what is going on here in Camden,” Wysocki said during a somber press conference at police headquarters on Federal Street Thursday evening.
The incident took place at roughly 11:46 p.m. on the 2900 block of Clinton Street in East Camden. The department was made aware after a CCPD ShotSpotter activation, which indicated that 10 rounds of gunfire went off.
“We located seven spent shell cases on the scene and the house was struck six times with the bullets penetrating the interior of the house,” the chief said, noting that two bullets went through the front door.
Wysocki confirmed that the shooters exited the vehicle but did not comment on whether they said or shouted anything when they opened fire.
The baby and the couple — who remain on leave and were revealed to be Hispanic — were not injured in the incident. They had been on the second floor when the shooting took place.
The two "really good officers," called such by the chief, have been with the department for two and four years respectively. Wysocki noted that both are members of the department's neighborhood response team and have worked to cultivate relationships in the community.
The officers' neighbor told investigators, according to the chief, “I don’t go to bed at night until I see the officers' cars come home, when they finish their shift. I watch as their car pulls up.”
He called it a tight-knit area.
“I want to send a very clear message to the scumbag thugs behind this senseless act. We're coming to get you and you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Freeholder Director Lou Cappelli said. “If you think you can get away with these crimes, under the cover of some unfortunate acts that may have taken place in other parts of the nation, or undercover [of] some national movement, you are wrong.”
On Thursday at 12:05 a.m., authorities recovered a 1998 Honda Odyssey connected with the shooting. The dark purple vehicle had temporary tags when it was found.
If you have information on the shooting or the vehicle, call the CCPD tip line at (856) 757-7042, the Citizens Crime Commission tip line at 215-546-TIPS (8477) or use the STOPit app to report information anonymously.
With help from the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Fraternal Order of Police, authorities are offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and capture.
“Right now agents and task force officers from the FBI and Related Agencies are conducting a neighborhood canvass, conducting interviews, gathering intelligence, and otherwise providing any possible technical assistance which might help in the identification of those responsible,” said Michael J. Driscoll, the special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Field Office, which extends to Camden. “We are determined to get to the bottom of this together.”
Asked by TAPinto Camden whether the two officers will be accommodated elsewhere, Wysocki said they have decided to remain at the residence of the attack. An officer out front and another in the rear have been assigned to watch over the home until the suspects are in custody.
The last incident of this nature in recent memory occurred in 2018, when two gunmen shot 10 to 25 rounds into an unmarked car — wounding two officers.
This week's shooting comes at a time of similar incidents — wherein police officers are the targets of violent attacks — have taken place across the country.
What does it say that this took place in Camden — recently touted as a model for policing in other parts of the country?
“Our department is going to continue to be that role model department,” Mayor Frank Moran said. “And they're going to continue to do their jobs…our residents in this city should continue to rest assured that if they call 911, the police will be there.”