A Bridgeton police officer died Sunday at his home, hours after being treated at a local hospital following a rescue attempt of a suspect who went into the Cohansey River, authorities said.
Officer Sean Peek, 49, of Millville, was found unresponsive Sunday morning by family members, said Bridgeton Police Chief Michael Gaimari. An official cause of death is pending an autopsy.
Peek, a 15-year veteran of the department, was working the 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift when he was dispatched to a call around 1:30 a.m. for a report of someone striking an ambulance with an unknown object as it left a facility on Mayor Aitken Drive. The officer saw a woman running near the bridge on Washington Street, when she either fell or jumped into the river.
“Sean made a decision as would any officer and entered the water in an attempt to pull the person from the running waters no matter what the circumstances,” the chief said in a statement.
The woman made it to the other side of the river, but Peek had a hard time returning to shore because he was still wearing all of his gear, the chief said.
Responding officers assisted Peek, who was treated at the scene and taken to Inspira Health Center in Bridgeton for evaluation. He was released from the hospital and sent home until he could be cleared to return to work.
Peek leaves behind a wife and child.
“We are naturally devastated here at the department,” Gaimari said. “Sean was a fine officer and a friend to all and always acted in an exemplary fashion when representing the department and the City of Bridgeton. He will be sorely missed and our hearts collectively go out to Megan and their 8-year-old daughter, Kate.”
The woman, Sarah Jeanne Davis, 29, of Canton, Connecticut, was apprehended by other officers and also evaluated at the hospital.
She was later charged with burglarizing several city-owned buildings in the area and causing more than $1,000 in damage. Davis is being held in the Cumberland County Jail pending completion of the investigation.
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