Three men face charges in ambush shooting of Camden police detectives

Camden Police Chief John Thomson asks for the public's help in finding three men wanted in connection with the shooting of two undercover detectives.

Camden Police Chief Scott Thomson asks for the public's help in finding three men wanted in connection with the shooting of two undercover detectives. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Three men who are still at large face attempted murder charges in connection with the ambush shooting of two undercover police detectives in Camden last week.

Authorities have charged Camden residents Ammar Hall and Juan Figueroa as well as Alexander Dejesus of Philadelphia with first-degree attempted murder, aggravated assault, and weapons offenses.

The three should be considered “armed and extremely dangerous,” said Camden County Police Chief Scott Thomson.

“These are homicidal maniacs,” Thomson said. “These folks are sociopaths.”

Law enforcement officials believe the men are still in the Philadelphia-Camden area and ask anyone who sees them to contact police.

Police say (from left) Alexander Dejesus, Ammar Hall and Juan Figueroa are responsible for the shooting of two undercover Camden detectives as they sat in their unmarked car at a red light.
Police say Alexander Dejesus, Ammar Hall and Juan Figueroa are responsible for shooting two undercover Camden detectives as they sat in an unmarked car at a red light. (Camden County Police)

The two Camden detectives sustained minor injuries and have been released from the hospital.

The detectives were working in an “undercover surveillance” capacity in South Camden Aug. 7, sitting in an unmarked car at a red light, when a white van pulled up around 8:30 p.m.

Two men got out of the van, approached the detectives’ vehicle, and fired 25 rounds in seven seconds, police said.

At least 12 rounds penetrated the windshield and passenger-side door.

“It defies the laws of probability that our officers survived, let alone escaped with minor injuries,” Thomson said.

The detectives returned fire but are not believed to have struck any of the suspects.

It is still unclear why the two “seasoned, good cops” were targeted. Thomson said investigators have “working hypotheses” for a motive in the shooting, but he did not elaborate during a Friday afternoon press conference.

The investigation includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the U.S. Marshals Service; the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, and the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.

A reward for information about the suspects now sits at $60,000.

Thomson said the two detectives who were shot are expected to fully recover from their wounds, but that they are shaken from the surprise attack.

“Physically, they’re going to be fine,” he said. “But you can imagine the trauma that they experienced.”

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