Two Trenton Cops Shot [VIDEO]
Two police officers shot Thursday morning in Trenton while serving a warrant in a domestic dispute are recovering from their injuries.
Jim Letts, 45, a 15-year veteran and Edgar Rios, 53, a 30-year veteran were responding to a domestic dispute on Hobart Avenue near Olden Avenue around 8:43 a.m, a location they have responded to before.
Police initially responded to a call overnight from a female who appeared to have been physically assaulted.
They brought the woman back to Hobart Street with a warrant to identify the suspect, Eric McNeil, 24. He was at the top of the stairs inside the home and came outside, opening fire on police according to Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph L. Bocchini Jr. The suspect was shot dead; more than a half-dozen bullets were fired.
“When you walk into a domestic violence situation you never know what’s going to happen,” Bocchini said.
The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office says Letts was shot in the shoulder around 8:45 a.m. while Rios was shot in the back. Trenton Police tell WCAU that Letts is “doing well” while Rios was suffering from internal bleeding from his stomach and pancreas. He will need more surgery on Friday.
City Council President George Muschal told the Times of Trenton he and Mayor Tony Mack were at the hospital visiting the wounded officers. Mack had no comment on the shooting but said his office would issue a press release.
Speaking with reporters, Bocchini said he was not concerned with complaints from residents that the gunman’s body was left in the street with his gun lying next to him awaiting the arrival of the medical examiner.
A Violent Year In Trenton
The shooting occurred in the middle of an upsurge in violence in Trenton, where there had been 29 homicides prior to Thursday’s shootout. The record was 31 in 2005.
Trenton’s police force has been depleted due to budget cuts and is down by about 100 officers, authorities have said, with state police providing assistance.
Mayor Tony Mack wrote Gov. Chris Christie two weeks ago seeking $10 million in additional state aid to hire 75 police officers this year to address the wave of violence.
Christie said he would not deal directly with Mack, whom he referred to as “the indicted mayor of Trenton.” Mack has denied any wrongdoing and remains office while awaiting trial on federal corruption charges.
The governor has said he is reviewing the public safety situation in Trenton with the attorney general’s office.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.