PARAMUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Paramus police officer was recovering from surgery Monday, in critical but stable condition, at Hackensack University Medical Center as police investigate what sparked a late-Sunday night shooting.
Officer Rachel Morgan, a two-year veteran of the force, was pursuing driver Michael Carmody south on Route 17 in Paramus around 11 p.m. Sunday.
The Westwood resident, according to authorities, sped off, lost control and crashed on the entrance ramp to the Garden State Parkway.
On Monday night the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office said it filed attempted murder charges against Carmody, 23.
1010 WINS’ John Montone with the latest on Officer Rachel Morgan’s condition
“He did a 180. Officer Morgan approached the car and as she was doing such the suspect immediately opened fire on her,” said Paramus Mayor Richard LaBarbieria.
She managed to get several shots off at the suspect, along with a backup police officer who also opened fire.
“The suspect was hit at least five to six times,” said LaBarbieria.
Morgan, 31, was hit three times, but she was wearing a bulletproof vest which may have saved her life. However, LaBarbieria told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg the officer was shot on the side where she was not protected by the vest.
1010 WINS Reporter Steve Sandberg Spoke With Mayor LaBarbiera About The Shoot-Out
As dozens of police from other jurisdictions showed up on the scene, Officer Morgan was rushed to Hackensack University Medical Center and into surgery for hours.
“The operation went on for approximately three hours. Everybody’s hopes had come to be realized when we heard the good news that everything went well,” LaBarbieria said.
The suspect was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital with life-threatening injuries.
“He’s had a troubled life and what I heard about this didn’t surprise me so much but he … it’s shocking,” Michael Machorek, Carmody’s neighbor, told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.
On his MySpace page, Carmody talks about brushes with the law, including drugs and DWI arrests.
He writes: “I been through hell and I’m still in it. Caught up in the legal system since I was 15 … still fighting to get out of it. When my mom died I lost my head.”
A neighbor who saw police at Carmody’s Westwood home Monday morning said he thought Carmody had left his troubles behind.
“I saw police cars and my initial thought was oh no he’s up to something no good. I drove down Route 17, wanted to take the parkway exit, but I couldn’t. I had no idea that was related to that,” Machorek said.
As for Officer Morgan, the mayor said, “She’s a strong person and a great cop and we wish nothing but the best for her.”
This is the second officer in New Jersey in less than a month to be shot in the line of duty. Officer Chris Matlosz was killed in Lakewood last month.
The name of the other officer involved has not been released, pending the outcome of an investigation.
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