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Newark SWAT Officer Shot In Bulletproof Vest During Search

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A Newark police SWAT team officer was shot in the bulletproof vest by a suspect during the execution of a search warrant Saturday morning, police said.

The officer suffered minor injuries.

Just after 6 a.m., Newark police officers and members of the Emergency Services SWAT team were executing a search warrant at in a basement apartment at 168 Goodwin Ave. when the suspect fired a gun from inside the apartment, police said.

One officer with the SWAT team was struck on his bulletproof vest, police said.

Newark SWAT Officer Bulletproof Vest
A Newark police SWAT Team officer was shot in the bulletproof vest while executing a search warrant on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. (Credit: Newark Police)

"They knocked and announced several times, 'police, police,' and then they breached the door," said Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose. "As they were entering, going into the basement where the search warrant was for, the shot was fired and struck the officer."

The 50-year-old officer, a 15-year veteran, was rushed to University Hospital in Newark, where he was treated for bruising, police said.

"He was very upbeat. Maybe it will kick in in a couple of days, but he did say, 'I'm blessed today,'" Mayor Ras Baraka said.

As CBS2's Erin Logan reported, the suspect – identified as James Dennard, 22 – was arrested on the scene. He faces several charges including attempted murder and aggravated assault.

James Dennard
James Dennard, 22, is accused of shooting a Newark police SWAT Team officer in the bulletproof vest. (Credit: Newark Police)

Police recovered a handgun, about 40 grams of marijuana, scaling and packaging materials.

The shooting happened while a 2-year-old child was in the apartment, CBS2's Marc Liverman reported. Latasia Phillips, 24, was also inside. She was charged with possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child.

"I'm just numb at this point and trying to deal with everything as it comes," said Dennard's father, Rod, who wasn't home when the shooting happened and had not spoken with his son since the arrest. "I'm praying for him. That's the only thing I can do."

The New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association said in a tweet that the officer was a hero putting himself in harm's way.

Newark police ask anyone with information regarding the incident to call the Newark police 24-hour Crime Stopper tip line at (877) NWK-TIPS or at (877) NWK-GUNS.

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