GLOUCESTER TWP., N.J. (WPVI) -- Authorities say a 12-hour standoff between police and an armed suspect in Gloucester Township, N.J. ended Thursday morning when a SWAT team entered the home and found the suspect dead.
According to Gloucester Township Police, officers never fired at or exchanged gunfire with the 24-year-old man during the course of the standoff, despite the fact that the suspect fired multiple times at police.
A cause of death for the suspect was not immediately released.
Police did find a rifle and a handgun in the home, located in the unit block of Hampshire Road in the Sicklerville section of Gloucester Township.
A female who was in the home when SWAT members went inside was not hurt, police said.
Her connection to the suspect was not immediately clear. She was being interviewed by police.
The incident began at 8:05 p.m. Wednesday, when police received a report of shots fired from outside the home on Hampshire Road.
Arriving officers heard gunfire, took cover, and called for backup.
A shelter-in-place order was declared for the surrounding neighborhood as more officers arrived, and 18 residents from ten nearby townhomes were evacuated.
"When I came out to just to see what was going on he said just go inside," said Angeline Gonzalez of Sicklerville. "He said the guy had a semi and it can reach where we are."
Neighbors who weren't home when the standoff started waited anxiously at a nearby high school - communicating with loved ones by phone.
"She heard the first gunshots around 9 o'clock," said Kevin Bullock, who was not able to go back to his home. "And then she heard another series of gunshots maybe a few minutes after that and she said she didn't stop hearing them until after 12."
Members of the Gloucester Township Police Special Response Team (SWAT) arrived on the scene with an armored response vehicle.
"There were six officers in the vehicle at the time," said Gloucester County Police Deputy Chief David Harkins. "If we didn't have this equipment, quite frankly I don't know how we would have handled it."
Police say, the suspect fired more than 15 rounds at police. No police officers were injured.
Images from Gloucester Township Police as well as the Action Cam at the scene showed bullet holes in the armored vehicle.
Over the next ten hours, officers negotiated with the suspect by telephone.
Wednesday evening, out of an abundance of caution, officials made the decision to cancel classes Thursday at all Gloucester Township Public Schools and the Black Horse Pike Regional School District, which includes Highland Regional High School, Timber Creek Regional High School, and Triton Regional High School.
The Erial Community Church Christian School was also closed.
Negotiations with the suspect continued through the night until, finally, "after numerous conversations he refused to answer the phone," police said in a statement.
Early Thursday morning, officers used the armored vehicle to remove the front door of the home, and sent robots in to search. A SWAT team finally entered the home and found the suspect dead.
The shelter-in-place order was lifted at 9 a.m. and the evacuated residents, who had been taken to Erial Fire Station by members of the Gloucester Township Office of Emergency Management, were escorted back to their homes.
All schools remained closed for the day.
There was no immediate word on the suspect's identity, what motivated the initial round of gunfire, or what charges might be filed in the case.
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