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New Jersey Police Officer Killed in On-Duty Crash

July 08--Millville police Officer Christopher Reeves died Sunday morning after his patrol car was struck by a suspect who was fleeing police, authorities said.

The incident occurred about 2:15 a.m. at Third and Broad streets, city police said.

Jim Ryan, spokesman for the State Policemen's Benevolent Association, said in a statement that another officer in the car with Reeves at the time of the crash was critically injured and remains hospitalized.

Reeves served in the Marine Corps and was a 1991 graduate of Millville Senior High School. He joined the Police Department in January 2004.

He is survived by his wife, Susan, who is also a Millville police officer, having joined the department in 2005, and their 2-year-old son, Alex.

On Sunday, black bunting draped the front of Millville's police headquarters. The department had already been planning a memorial service today for a K-9 unit dog, Treu, who died last month.

At the street corner where Reeves was killed, there was no sign of the incident from the night before.

"Chris was a member of his community who always gave back, whether it be as a volunteer fireman or a police officer. His loss is felt by all of us. In this time of tragedy, I ask everyone to keep his family, friends and the Millville Police Department in your prayers," State PBA President Anthony Wieners said.

Millville paramedic Ian Roberts said Reeves' death creates a void that cannot be filled.

Roberts, a former police officer, said he met Reeves through the Millville Volunteer Fire Department, where they both were firefighters, with lockers near one another.

"You met Chris, and one of the first things that struck you about him was he was a good-looking guy. He looked like the all-American guy. Hollywood actors should look at him and say, 'I wish I looked like him,'" Roberts said.

Roberts described Reeves as compassionate, both as a police officer and personally. Reeves went from being a hero as a Marine to a hero as a police officer and a volunteer firefighter, but never looked for praise, Roberts said.

"Despite his love of country and love of his job, his passion was his wife and child. You could talk to Chris about anything, and he always had a smile on his face. When the mention of his wife and child came up, his smile morphed into something you can't even describe," Roberts said.

"Chris and Sue balanced each other. He completed her, and she completed him. The culmination of that was the beautiful son they have," he said.

Dave Buchanan worked as an emergency medical technician in Millville and also worked alongside Reeves. He said Reeves was always helpful at emergency medical calls and treated individuals he arrested with dignity.

"He was just a homegrown kid. He graduated from high school down here, and then he went to the Marine Corps, came home and wanted to give back to the community. With Chris, the bottom line is you couldn't say anything bad about him," said Buchanan, of Hopewell Township.

Police said the investigation into the crash is being handled by the Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office and State Police.

County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae said Sunday morning that no additional information was available and the incident was under investigation.

"Obviously, this was a very tragic event," Webb-McRae said. "We're very saddened and are praying for his family."

Staff Writer Trudi Gilfillian contributed to this report.

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Copyright 2012 - The Press of Atlantic City, Pleasantville, N.J.