- The Washington Times - Friday, September 25, 2009

LAKEWOOD, N.J. (AP) | A gunman opened fire early Thursday on a SWAT team that burst into a home during a drug and gun raid, wounding four officers while spraying bullets from atop a staircase, authorities said. One officer was critically wounded.

Lakewood Patrolman Jonathan Wilson was shot in the face during the raid and was in critical but stable condition at a local hospital. Authorities said they were optimistic he would survive despite being grievously wounded.

“He is in good spirits, and he’s communicating,” said Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford.

Authorities said Patrolman Wilson is in danger of losing an eye from the gunshot wound. He is a six-year veteran of the force who is married with four children, including a newborn.

Police Chief Robert Lawson said the officer was shot in the forehead. But because the bullet was fired at a downward angle, it did not penetrate his skull, instead exiting through the side of his face.

Lt. Greg Meyer was shot in the foot and was in good condition at the hospital following surgery for bone injuries.

Two other Lakewood officers, Sgt. Louis Sasso and Patrolman Leonard Nieves Sr., were shot in their specially reinforced bulletproof vests, suffering only minor injuries despite being struck in the chest. They were treated and released from the hospital.

The suspect, Jamie Gonzalez, 39, was in critical condition after suffering gunshot wounds as police returned fire, Mrs. Ford said.

He was charged with four counts of attempted murder, as well as illegal weapons possession and receiving stolen property. The .357 Magnum used to shoot the officers was reported stolen from South Carolina, Mrs. Ford said.

Mr. Gonzalez was to be held on $2 million bail once released from the hospital.

A second man who was inside the house when the shooting erupted also was in custody but had not been charged as of midday Thursday. First Assistant Prosecutor Ronald DeLigny said it does not appear the second person was involved in the shooting, but may be implicated in the underlying guns and drugs case that brought the multiagency task force to the house in the first place.

At 2:25 a.m., the task force consisting of officers from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, New Jersey State Police, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and Lakewood police executed a “no-knock” search warrant at the single-family split-level home.

They knocked down the door with a battering ram, entered a midlevel landing and were heading upstairs when Mr. Gonzalez opened fire on them from atop a staircase, striking the four officers, authorities said.

Police returned fire and shot Mr. Gonzalez several times. It was not clear how many shots were fired.

Authorities were still searching the house Thursday. Deputy Chief Michael Mohel, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, said the search for weapons and drugs in the house probably would not be completed until Friday.

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