Deptford cop charged with shooting at his home

Officer James Stuart and David Compton

January 7, 2013 8:19:12 AM PST
Prosecutors say 29-year-old James Stuart - a Deptford Township police officer has been charged in a shooting that happened at his home.

The Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office alleges that Officer Stuart shot 27-year-old David Compton once in the head on Saturday morning.

The prosecutor's spokesman Bernie Weisenfeld said in a news release that Compton, who is not a police officer, was in critical condition at Cooper Medical Center in Camden.

Officials say Stuart was charged with two counts of aggravated assault and was released after posting $10,000 bail.

The officer, who has been with the force for about five years, was suspended with pay.

Authorities have not said exactly what happened, but Action News has confirmed Officer Stuart was holding the gun when it appears the weapon accidentally went off.

Investigators also searched a car in his driveway. Action News has learned the car belongs to the victim whose parents live in Woodbury.

Upset family friends say the victim's parents were in Florida when they received the news and rushed to Cooper University Hospital to be with their son.

Friends of Stuart's were seen picking up his dog, but declined comment, only saying the officer was okay.

Neighbors spent the day concerned and curious.

"It makes you wonder what's going on. You don't know what's going on inside other people's homes or whatever, but it makes you wonder," said McAlpine.

Officials say the gun may have been a personal weapon and not one issued by the department.

The shooting remains under investigation.

The family of David Compton issued a statement on Monday morning through their attorney. It reads:

We would like to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to the skilled doctors, nurses and medical staff at Cooper Hospital who have been involved in David's care thus far. We would also like to thank the members of the Deptford Police Department and the investigators from the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office for the compassion and professionalism that they have exhibited during their investigation of this incident.

At this time we would ask the members of the press and general public to respect our family's wishes for privacy during this most trying time. It is our desire at this time to focus all of our time and attention on David and his needs during these upcoming days.

We appreciate the well wishes that we have received and we would ask that you keep David and our family in your thoughts and prayers.