BLOOMINGDALE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A wild police chase in a small New Jersey town left one man dead Thursday.
It all unfolded in a residential community in Passaic County just steps away from an elementary school.
Police say the whole situation started with a shoplifting incident.
“I was just in my house. I heard the fast-driving car and some sirens and I’m like, what the heck,” neighbor Kay Hawkins told CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas.
Hawkins first heard police chasing the suspect’s car through her neighborhood, then gunshots.
Bloomingdale Police cornered a shoplifting suspect in the area of Matthews Drive and Pleasant View Avenue just after 10 a.m.
Authorities say the suspect and police exchanged gunfire. The suspect, a man, was shot and killed by officers.
“Nothing ever happens here. We have bears nipping at your garbage. Nothing happens in this town,” parent Priscilla Porporino said. “So it’s shocking. It’s shocking.”
That shock spread quickly throughout the sleepy town as residents were notified that all schools were placed on lockdown as a precaution.
“We were in the store and all of a sudden my phone goes off and it says police department and I’m like, oh my god. And it was a recording letting us know that, too, about the schools and everything being on lockdown,” Bloomingdale resident Faith Zita said.
Samuel Donald Elementary School is just down the street from the incident. Officers were on hand during dismissal to ease parents’ concerns.
“I was a little worried because it’s really close to the school. To me, I’m just worried for my daughter that’s it,” Porporino said.
Authorities say it all started when the shoplifting suspect nearly ran over the officers as they attempted to make a traffic stop. That’s when the chase began.
As authorities zoomed past the road blocks and disappear up the hill, residents wondered and waited, hoping to learn more about what happened.
One officer sustained a minor injury.
Police-involved shootings are usually investigated by the prosecutor’s office, but this time the Attorney General has stepped in.