NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — When New Jersey state troopers responded to a car crash on the westbound side of 1-78 near Lebanon early Saturday morning, they never suspected they might come under attack.
At 4:25 a.m., the troopers were attending to the driver of the car when the rear window of their sport utility vehicle was shattered by an unknown object. Authorities then shut down the highway in both directions while they investigated the cause of the damage and conducted an intense search of the area, but no possible suspects were located.
Frantic calls could be heard over the police scanner, CBS2’s Steve Langford reported.
“Need some help out here, we think we heard shots fired out,” said one of the officers. “Shots fired?” “10-4. Right at us at the windshield need help out here.”
The manhunt forced the closing of 1-78 for several hours, leaving traffic at a complete standstill as state police launched a meticulous manhunt for a possible gunman, Langford reported.
As farmer Jeff Spencer arrived at his farm next to the interstate just before dawn, it looked like a military invasion he said.
“That was something you see on the news like from the Middle East. Very scary.”
“Do not approach the scene, do not approach the scene, the shooter could be in the woods,” police warned, according to Spencer.
“And they started making their way through the farm they had to go through every building.”
The driver of the crashed car, 29-year-old Antonio Melendez Jr. of Phillipsburg, was treated at a hospital for minor injuries.