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Answers Sought After N.J. Station Shooting

It was a quiet Tuesday morning, darkness still prevailing, at the West Deptford Police Department.

Of the four officers on duty, three were out on calls. A fourth, the supervisor, had just walked into the office. It was 4 a.m.

Five minutes later, someone in a dark sedan pulled up, aiming a high-caliber weapon at the police building. Gunfire erupted. The supervisor ducked.

Five bullets barreled into the white, key-fobbed outside door that officers use to enter. Another pierced the deputy chief's office window. A seventh struck the building's brick wall.

When it was over, the car had fled, and police were investigating who had targeted their building -- the first such event that the chief, deputy chief and another officer, each with more than 20 years experience, could recall.

"When I first heard it, I was shocked," Chief Sam DiSimone said. "Sure, it's frustrating."

No one was injured at the police building, which sits adjacent to the township's library near Crown Point and Firehouse roads. Police said the weapon used was .40-caliber or higher.

Investigators said they were following several leads to determine a motive but did not elaborate. The department, they said, had received no recent e-mail or phone threats.

Whether criminal cases played a role -- DiSimone said his officers respond most often to burglaries, but also perform many drug investigations -- the chief said it was too early to tell.

"I think this was clearly a targeted incident to our police department," Deputy Chief Sean McKenna said late Tuesday morning in the municipal courtroom, not far from his office, where a bullet hole remained in the right side of his office window.

McKenna said the supervisor on duty immediately called in the shooting. One officer arrived within 20 seconds, and a state police helicopter later hovered above the building.

Ultimately, the search yielded little on the suspect or suspects.

Tuesday afternoon, police were reviewing surveillance video of the sedan to capture a possible license plate number.

A $3,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction was being offered by the local Police Benevolent Association, McKenna said.

Authorities urged anyone with information on the shooting to call Det. Sgt. Michael Cramer at 856-853-4599 ext. 164.

Copyright 2014 - The Philadelphia Inquirer

McClatchy-Tribune News Service