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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  Police News  >  Camden Officer Shot


Camden Officer Shot Multiple Times

Police and Law Enforcement News

Monday, March 17, 2008 5:10 p.m.

Regarding today's shooting of the Camden Officer, this is the latest updated from the Philadelphia Enquirer:

A veteran Camden police officer was in serious but stable condition today after being shot or stabbed five times in a street confrontation with a naked, knife-wielding man.

The man was shot and killed by another officer.

Rominita Rivera, 45, a 15-year veteran of the Camden Police Department, suffered at least four gunshot wounds: a graze wound to the head, two to the shoulder and one to the forearm. She had another wound to her leg, but officials said it wasn't clear if that was a stab wound or a gunshot injury.

Police were trying to determine if Rivera was shot by her own gun after it was taken from her by her assailant or if she was struck by bullets fired by the other officer.

The violence in the 900 block of Morton Street occurred around 8 a.m., after police responded to 911 calls about a naked man with a knife who had stabbed one man and was threatening others.

Lamont Morton, 19, who neighbors said lived at 946 Morton St., apparently got in a heated dispute with a man and several women in the house, Acting Camden County Prosecutor Joshua M. Ottenberg said. Morton stabbed the other man, William Custis, before the argument spilled into the street and police were called, Ottenberg said. Custis was later treated and released at a nearby hospital.

Morton apparently went back into the house and got another knife and "removed his clothes, for some reason," Ottenberg said.

Rivera was the first officer to arrive on the scene and she confronted Morton, with her gun drawn. The officer fired her gun when Morton attacked her, Ottenberg said, but he was able to take the gun and was on top of her when he was shot by an officer identified by police sources as Dexter Miller, 42, an 18-year veteran of the force.

In all, 18 shots were fired during the brief struggle, nine from each officer's gun, Ottenberg said.

"We're not sure who shot who or how it happened," Ottenberg told reporters. Investigators were hoping to interview Rivera later in the day; she was awake and talking at the hospital, police chief Ed Hargis said.

"Preliminarily, it looks like she may not have had enough time to do anything but what she did," Ottenberg said. "It looks like the officer acted appropriately."

Rivera is married and the mother of two children, police said. She is the first Camden officer to be shot in the line of duty since Daniel Vautier was wounded on Dec. 22, 2006.

"She is an active officer, she has a very good work ethic," said Hargis, who said he had worked with Rivera earlier in his career.

Miller, the officer who shot and killed Morton, was placed on administrative leave, as is required after a police shooting, while the investigation continues, Hargis said.

Police said they had not determined what sparked the initial dispute that brought police to the normally quiet Camden street. They said Custis is the father of a child whose mother, Tracy Morton, is Morton's aunt.

Police said Lamont Morton had previous encounters with police, but they declined to specify what those were.

Police and Law Enforcement News

Monday, March 17, 2008 5:10 p.m.

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