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Suspect Captured, Salem Hostage Standoff Ended

SALEM, N.J. (AP) — A State Police SWAT team burst into a southern New Jersey home early Thursday, arresting a man they say had earlier traded gunfire with them during a hostage situation.

State Police Lt. Stephen Jones said that before the team entered the house, the suspect, 24-year-old Lavar Rodgers of Salem, had released all four hostages unharmed: a woman and three children.

A police officer who suffered a grazing gunshot wound to the shoulder was treated at the scene and did not require hospitalization. A police dog, Jordan, was shot in the abdomen, and was taken to a Philadelphia veterinary hospital, where he was in stable condition Thursday morning, authorities said.

Rodgers was charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and weapons offenses. He was being held in the Salem County Jail on $1 million bail.

Police in Salem, about 25 miles south of Philadelphia, received a 911 call at 2:50 p.m. Wednesday reporting a domestic violence incident. Officers from the Salem police department, Salem County Prosecutor’s Office, and Salem County Sheriff’s Office responded, and were met with gunfire when they entered the house, authorities said.

The officers returned fire, but did not strike the suspect.

They left the house and cordoned off the area while a hostage negotiating team was called in.

After several hours, the hostages were released unharmed. The relationship of the woman and children to the suspect was not immediately clear, but both adults had different names and lived in separate houses on the same street, authorities said.

Shortly before 4 a.m., a State Police tactical team entered the house and arrested the suspect, who was trying to hide inside, Jones said.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • judy

    All k 9 dogs should have bulletproof vest and I hope Jordon make a fully recovery with his partner.

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  • Nancy Frank

    It is horrible. Hats off to the law enforcement team for tireless efforts to clean it up. I use to live there and worry deeply for all I care about that still lives there. It use to be a nice place to live.

  • BC

    Get the hostages out, firebomb the house or trailer and burn the shooter alive. Case over, no court time, no money spent on “rehabilitation”. This man, I’m quite sure, has a long record, is probably on drugs, has one or more illegitimate children, maybe with the woman he was with, and is a useless human being that should be dead.

  • grumpy

    Sounds like a justified shooting of this idiot would have best served everyone involved.

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  • Steven Vance

    amazing how we get a lot of comments that assume the writers know the details of the situation, when in fact I’m sure none of them have access to the actual “incident report” submitted by the officers in question. Julie- you can’t just “send the dog in”. Proper tactical procedure requires the presence of live officers first, to issue (legally required) verbal warnings, etc. K9 are used as a “last resort” because they cannot interact with perpetrators, they can’t make split-second tactical decisions, etc. What if you “just send the dog in” and the perp is holding onto a child? likely as not the child will get bitten. It’s not that simple. There are specific written guidelines for the use of K9s in a tactical situation.

  • julie

    I have 3 dogs, I love them like my family, and I would do anything to protect them, but are you kidding me? You would rather send a man, with conscious thought, the will to actively protect humans, and decision-making skills into a dangerous situation before you would send an animal in to find and chase a person out of a house? What?? I really do love animals, but for real, think through the logistics of a public safety situation. Do you want an officer there with a gun, or a dog with no handler and a dead man with a gun?

  • Lisa Richard

    Prayers go out to the officer and the K-9 injured. The dogs should have on vests as well as the officers. They are usually the ones to go after the suspects and they are vulnerable. The person responsible should get maximum time.

    • robert

      i truly like the idea of K9 dogs being supplied with vests

  • Handy

    They did not send the dog in first. The dog was actually behind the officer and the bullet that hit the officer, hit the dog. I hate see comments about how horrible our cops are. I live in Salem and people around here should remember when you need help who do you call? Our city is NOT safe and these people risk their lives everyday for us. They also have families to go home to just like all of us. Please respect them and keep both the officer and the k-9 in our prays.

  • Bill Lamb

    I see more people care about the dog, less about the officer and no one talks about the criminal. we see more and more officers getting killed trying to protect us. you know why criminals are living Texas?….2nd Amendment.

    • Guess Who

      I’ll talk about the criminal. Anyone named Levar should be wasted at the site of the crime.

  • Dee

    I do NOT believe in using K9 dogs in police work. They are too vulnerable. A bullet is faster than an attack by a police dog. Breaks my heart to hear when they are injured and/or killed.

  • grumpy

    When is the punishment going to start fitting the crime? We need to go back to cruel and unusual sentencing (something has to act as a deterrent) because these perps deserve it!

    • Bill lambritsios

      I agree…..if not so let the citizens take matters in their own hands or just plain and simple let me be the judge and the jury. only for the criminals.

  • KB

    Well I am currently in Salem and we are currently under a “lockdown”. You cannot get on the street and we are to stay in our homes. We saw the dogs and they had on vests. Unfortunately this young man is not of sound mind and now a lot of people have to deal with this while the police try to figure out the safest way to handle the situation. Yes, I am tired and I wish this would end soon so that we all can go to bed and rest a little easier knowing the situation was resolved and everyone made it out safely

  • Tired of it

    Bring back the death penalty in NJ and it should be use for those that attempt to murder as well as those that murder. And include drug dealers in that lot becasue they are killing our youth indirectly.

  • Vom Brunhaus

    K9 dogs should not be endangered in standoff/hostage or SWAT incidents where gunfire is likely. Hoping dog and officer both re-coup.

  • jeff

    I hope they that the guy is arrested then put him in a cage with all of Salem county’s K-9’s and let the dogs have their way with him.

  • Tony G

    In some departments the K-9’s do have bullet proof vests, but it’s usually up to the handler when to put the vest on the dog. Aside from that, the vests for dogs often times cost more than a vest for an officer because the vests are custom made, which can make them cost prohibitive for some agencies.

    • Brilliant


    • Dawn

      The Salem County K-9 Association provides the vests, care and training for the dogs. They are having a fundraiser February 19, 2011 at the Salem County FOP in Pennsville from 6-11 pm.

      • Dawn

        If anyone is interested in making a monetary donation to the Salem County K-9 Association to help with Jordan’s(K-9 officer) medical bills(estimated to be $9,000) please send to the following:

        Salem County K-9 Association
        c/o The Bank
        125 Route 45
        Salem, NJ 08079

  • dog person

    If the dog dies, he will have killed a police officer. Hopefully he will not live out a life of luxury on ‘life row’ in prison. Funding for vests is available for police dogs if only we knew they didn’t have them.

    • Commgirl

      Just so you know.. he will be charged ONLY with Killing a Law Enforcement animal.. a 3rd degree crime in NJ, punishable by 3-5 yrs and a fine not more than $15,000. Police K-9’s are not considered police officers in this state! There are legislator’s currently trying to change it to a mandatory 5 year prison sentence, but that’s as good as it gets in the “Great” state of New Jersey!

  • Jim Wilmer

    I guess the dog was sent in ahead of the officer to flush the man out. What is in these citizens heads? Your not going to out gun the police. If he does surrender he will serve 20 yrs.+.

  • Jess

    This is why police K9 dogs should have bulletproof vests as well.

    • Shan Dougherty

      I AGREE!!!

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