Reporting Jim Melwert
By Jim Melwert, Robin Rieger
BURLINGTON CITY, N.J. (CBS) — Police have identified a Mount Laurel man who was shot to death by police at a car dealership in South Jersey Tuesday morning.
Jason T. Bunnell, age 32, of Mount Laurel, was killed after firing shots at an officer early Tuesday.
The incident began after Burlington City Police were called to the Willis Honda Dealership along the 1200 block of Bordentown Road around 12:30 a.m. for a report of a suspicious person near the dealership.
The Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office says the officer stopped and attempted to speak with a suspicious person who was walking near the dealership, but the man fled. Officials say a chase led to an overgrown section of the lot, where the man fired at the officer and missed.
The suspect was then shot and killed by the police officer. Authorities say a gun was found at the scene.
“It’s a tragedy,” said Willis Honda General Sales Manager Joe D’Aurizzio. He said he was called shortly after the incident.
“The initial reports that I was getting was there may have been a break in at the dealership,” he said.
But D’Aurizzio said there is no evidence the building or cars were tampered with. He worried about the cleaning crew that might have been in the building until midnight.
“No one wants to get a phone call or come in to work to find that something like this happened at the dealership.”
The officer involved in the altercation was taken to a nearby hospital, where officials said he was checked out for chest pains and other symptoms of shock then released. He was expected to be okay.
Burlington City’s mayor James Fazzone said he is glad that the officer who was evaluated and released from the hospital was not hurt.
“That’s always a relief. We have professionals who work for us, they’re highly trained, they’re highly proficient,” said Mayor Fazzone.
The name of the officer who was involved has not been released. He is on paid administrative leave while the shooting is investigated by the prosecutor’s office, Burlington City and the Burlington Township Police Department. The prosecutor’s office will review the investigation once it’s complete to determine whether the officer’s use of force was appropriate.
The deadly incident remains under police investigation.