Authorities say a 31-year-old suspected assailant was fatally shot and another remains at large after a Vineland police officer returned fire during a shootout while investigating a robbery early Sunday morning.

Police lights. (David Lentz, ThinkStock)
Police lights. (David Lentz, ThinkStock)

According to a statement from the Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office, police responded to the area of 7th and Cherry streets in Vineland at about 1 a.m. after receiving reports that shots had been fired. When police arrived, they located a robbery victim and learned that two suspects had fled the scene, the Prosecutor's Office said.

Police located the suspected assailants a few blocks away in the area of East Avenue and Almond Street, according to the statement. As officers pursued the suspects on foot, authorities say there was an exchange of gunfire. One of the suspected assailants, identified by the Prosecutor's Office as Richard Bard Jr., 31 of Bridgeton, was shot, and pronounced dead a short time later at Inspira Medical Center, the Prosecutor's Office said. Police police Bard was the same person who initially fired upon the police officer.

Police say they found a firearm in the area where Bard was was shot.

The other alleged assailant managed to escape during the gunfire exchange, authorities said. A firearm was also found in path from which he fled during the incident, police said. Authorities say he is believed to be a black male last seen wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt.

"He is considered to be armed and dangerous," the Prosecutor's Office said in a statement.

A medivac helicopter responded and transported the robbery victim to Atlantic City Medical Center where authorities say he is in stable condition. The police officers involved were not injured, police said.

Authorities from Cumberland County and the New Jersey State Police are continuing to investigate the incident. In addition, authorities say the officer who discharged his weapon has been placed on administrative leave "per investigative protocol."


More From Cat Country 107.3