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Suspect Captured, Salem Hostage Standoff Ended

SALEM, N.J. (AP) -- A State Police SWAT team burst into a southern New Jersey home early Thursday, arresting a man they say had earlier traded gunfire with them during a hostage situation.

State Police Lt. Stephen Jones said that before the team entered the house, the suspect, 24-year-old Lavar Rodgers of Salem, had released all four hostages unharmed: a woman and three children.

A police officer who suffered a grazing gunshot wound to the shoulder was treated at the scene and did not require hospitalization. A police dog, Jordan, was shot in the abdomen, and was taken to a Philadelphia veterinary hospital, where he was in stable condition Thursday morning, authorities said.

Rodgers was charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and weapons offenses. He was being held in the Salem County Jail on $1 million bail.

Police in Salem, about 25 miles south of Philadelphia, received a 911 call at 2:50 p.m. Wednesday reporting a domestic violence incident. Officers from the Salem police department, Salem County Prosecutor's Office, and Salem County Sheriff's Office responded, and were met with gunfire when they entered the house, authorities said.

The officers returned fire, but did not strike the suspect.

They left the house and cordoned off the area while a hostage negotiating team was called in.

After several hours, the hostages were released unharmed. The relationship of the woman and children to the suspect was not immediately clear, but both adults had different names and lived in separate houses on the same street, authorities said.

Shortly before 4 a.m., a State Police tactical team entered the house and arrested the suspect, who was trying to hide inside, Jones said.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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