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Police officer critical, suspect dead after shootout in Atlantic City

Two Cumberland County men were arrested late Saturday in connection with a shooting earlier in the day near a popular Atlantic City casino parking gargage that left one man dead and a police officer seriously injured.

Two Cumberland County men were arrested late Saturday in connection with a shooting earlier in the day near a popular Atlantic City casino parking gargage that left one man dead and a police officer seriously injured.

The deceased man who shot at the officers was identified as Jerome Damon, 25, of Camden.

Acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Diane Ruberton made the announcement in a statement released Saturday night.

Investigators said that on Saturday, at 2:34 a.m., two uniformed Atlantic City police officers on patrol observed a robbery in progress involving six men near the Caesars Atlantic City parking garage on Arkansas Avenue.

As one Atlantic City police officer exited his marked cruiser, he was shot and injured. The second police officer returned fire, hitting one suspect, who fled the scene.

The four others who were involved in the robbery also fled the scene in different directions, said police.

The injured suspect, Damon, was eventually located 1½ blocks away, on Missouri and Pacific Avenues, where he collapsed and died, according to Ruberton's statement.

The police officer, whose name was withheld, was treated at the scene by responding emergency medical personnel, and transported to the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center-City Division, where he remained in critical condition, according Sgt. Kevin Fair, a spokesman with the Atlantic City Police Department.

The five others involved that were sought by law enforcement were located and identified.

Two of the five - identified as Martell Chisholm, 19, of Millville, and Demetrius Cross, 28, of Bridgeton - were arrested and taken into police custody.

The three remaining people, whose names were not released, were victims of the armed robbery and not charged with a crime, investigators said.

Chisholm and Cross are charged each with two counts of attempted murder (of the two police officers), three counts of robbery, two counts of conspiracy to commit robbery, two counts of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and two counts of conspiracy to commit possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose.

The first set of charges - attempted murder, robbery and conspiracy to commit robery - are first-degree crimes with a potential penalty of 10 to 20 years in prison. The remaining charges can each carry five to 10 years of jail time.

"These charges are the result of an unprecedented effort by law enforcement from local, county, state and federal agencies who worked tirelessly throughout the day to identify and locate the suspects," Ruberton said.

In a statement, the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office, which is leading the investigation, said the male officer "was shot and injured as he exited the vehicle. The second officer returned fire and struck at least one of the suspects.

Atlantic City Police Chief Henry White told reporters at an early-morning news conference: "At this point, I don't know what the reason for the initial stop was, but as the officers were getting out of the car, the males opened fire on our officers, striking one."

White said despite the police presence and the ongoing search, the city's popular outlet mall that occupies several blocks - known as The Walk - was open Saturday for tourists for Labor Day weekend.

NJ Cop Shot, a program by the New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association, had offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects.

Anyone with information was asked to call the Prosecutor's Office's Major Crimes Unit at 609-909-7666 or the Crime Stoppers of Atlantic County at 609-652-1234.

shawj@phillynews.com

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