Camden County Prosecutor Mary Eva Colalillo reported a non-fatal police-involved shooting in Merchantville Thursday afternoon.
A preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 3:15 pm, Pennsauken Police were pursuing a vehicle driven by Christian Vargas, 24, of Pennsauken, for possible shots fired.
Pennsauken police signaled Vargas to stop but instead fled through several residential streets in Pennsauken and Merchantville, often reaching speeds exceeding 60 m.p.h. while being pursued by police. Once Vargas reached Chestnut Street in Merchantville, an officer, who was handling crossing guard duties, drew his weapon and fired one round that struck the windshield of Vargas’ vehicle.
However, Vargas still did not stop and continued to flee the scene through more residential streets at a high rate of speed.
Police said Vargas was not apprehended until later that evening when the owner of the vehicle he was operating during the incident that afternoon, came to the police department to report it missing.
The owner of the vehicle, eventually told police that Vargas was outside the police station.
Police arrested and charged Vargas with eluding.
The officer, whose identity will not be released at this time, was not injured and has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.
When a municipal police officer is involved in a shooting, the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office conducts an investigation into the incident, as required by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office guidelines. The local police department is not involved in the investigation.