ATLANTIC CITY — Police arrested a city man after a chase across the island that started with gunshots outside a school hosting graduation exercises and ended in a search that tied up traffic around the Atlantic City Expressway and Route 40.
At 10:04 a.m., Officer Daniel Kramer was stopped at Sovereign and Arctic avenues when he heard gunshots, police said in a news release. At the time of the gunshots, the Sovereign Avenue School was hosting a promotion ceremony outside for students and families.
After the gunshots, Kramer saw two speeding vehicles turn off the first block of North Sovereign Avenue and then north on Montpelier Avenue, police said. Kramer pursued the vehicles, as it appeared one was chasing the other. A Dodge Charger driven by Azir Abdullah, 19, was in front of Kramer.
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The second vehicle was in front of Abdullah. Abdullah turned on Fairmount Avenue, and Kramer saw him fire several gunshots at the vehicle in front of him, police said. While driving down Fairmount, Abdullah sideswiped a parked car. The pursuit continued on to Albany Avenue, though the other vehicle turned at West End Avenue.
Kramer continued to pursue Abdullah to the Exit 2 on-ramp for the expressway, where Abdullah lost control of his vehicle and crashed, police said. As Abdullah fled from the vehicle, he dropped a handgun, stopped and picked it up, and continued running into a wooded area.
Authorities set up a perimeter that led to the closing of several major local roads, including the expressway and Route 40.
At 12:20 p.m., Abdullah was located in the dense brush and taken into custody by members of the department’s SWAT team. No one was injured, police said. During a search of the area, officers found a handgun magazine.
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Abdullah was charged with aggravated assault, eluding, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, certain person not to possess a weapon and possession of hollow-point ammunition. He was taken to the Atlantic County jail.
Detectives are conducting an investigation into the occupants of the second vehicle. Anyone with information can call police at 609-347-5766 or text tip411 (847411). Begin the text with ACPD.
State Police, Egg Harbor Township and Ventnor police, and the Atlantic City Fire Department responded. The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office assisted in the investigation.