Video Shows Longport Officer Discharge Weapon in Welfare Check

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Longport officer discharges his weapon during a welfare check.

By LYNDA COHEN, BreakingAC

The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating after a Longport police officer discharged his weapon during a welfare check in December, BreakingAC has confirmed.

No one was struck in the Dec. 2 incident, which resulted in a bullet hole in a wall and the resident falling to the floor screaming, video footage shows.

The man’s small dog also is seen running away after the shot was fired.

BreakingAC obtained the footage through an Open Public Records Act request. The video captured by the two responding officers’ body-worn cameras was edited to blur out the faces of those involved and mute some of the conversations that are not considered public, including information about the resident.

The officers’ identities are not being released while the investigation is ongoing.

The officers are shown arriving at the home for a welfare check. The time/date stamps are cropped out of the video, but the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office said the response was late afternoon Dec. 2 to a home on 13th Avenue.

When there is no answer to the doorbell, the officers walk around the residence at least twice before walking through a sliding door that was unlocked.

There is no answer when they ring the doorbell. They then walk around the residence before opening a backdoor that was slightly ajar.

“Police, hello,” one calls in before the two walk inside.

The officers are repeatedly heard calling out as they walk through the first floor of the home and find no one.

They then go up the stairs, where the two go separate ways as they search the second floor.

At one point, one is heard yelling, “Hello,” and there’s a yell, and the one officer fires his gun.

The flash of the muzzle is seen and there is a hole left in a wall in the hallway.

It is not clear when he draws the weapon, as the camera mostly shows a flashlight in his right hand with nothing in his left.

The resident screams and then drops down to the ground in a room at the far end of the hallway. His small dog is seen running.

He asks why they are there, and seems confused as to who would be calling for a wellness check.

The man says he was camping for a week and just returned the night before.

The officer who fired goes outside to make a phone call, all of which is muted.

When he comes back in, the resident is sitting on a couch with the small dog on his lap.

“I apologize, I didn’t hear anything,” the resident tells him. “The doorbell doesn’t work, apparently. I just figured that out the other day.”

“You don’t have anything to apologize for,” the officer responds.

Some of the conversation is muted, as part of the policy in redacting personal information under the public records release guidelines.

“It’s really, really annoying that someone would call a welfare check on me,” the man says.

The officer asks dispatch for the caller’s name, which is redacted.

“Unbelievable,” the man replies in hearing it. The rest of his statement is muted.

“We’re going to have somebody come and check you out, OK,” the officer says.

“Yeah, I’m probably in shock or something,” the man replies.

“I don’t want to get anybody in trouble,” he says.

“What happened happened,” the officer replies. “There’s procedures now that have to happen, too. As long as you’re OK.

“We’re going to have somebody stop out and make sure you’re OK and go from there,” the officer adds.

Both officers go out on the porch alone.

“Sorry about that,” one officer said to the other officer

“He came down super-aggressive,” the other officer responds. “I didn’t know what was going on either. I thought at first, you were making that noise.”

“I didn’t know what that was,” the officer who discharged his weapon said. “He just turned the corner real fast and …”

He then trails off.

The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office has been designated as the independent prosecutor for the investigation, under the supervision of the Office of the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity & Accountability, an Attorney General’s Office spokesman told BreakingAC.

“Since this is an ongoing active investigation, we have no further comment,” the Prosecutor’s Office said.