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Neighbors describe chaos ahead of fatal police shooting

December 19, 2021 GMT

VINELAND, N.J. (AP) — Neighbors say a fatal early morning police shooting at a New Jersey mobile home park over the weekend was preceded by a man driving a backhoe that damaged several vehicles and a home.

A Vineland police officer fired during an encounter at the Penn Lincoln Mobile Home Park in Vineland at about 5:30 a.m. Saturday, the New Jersey attorney general’s office said. The man was pronounced dead at the scene less than 20 minutes later.

Neighbors told reporters that before the shooting, the backhoe driver overturned several cars, including a police sport utility vehicle and an ambulance. The driver also did major damage to another police SUV and a civilian sedan, and destroyed the front porch of a home.

“It’s like a hurricane came through here,” neighbor Diane Trout told WCAU-TV. “Just total destruction.”

She said she is friends with the woman whose front porch was destroyed, and the backhoe also ripped a hole in the front of the home.

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“I feel so bad for her, she was upset and crying,” Trout said. “It’s Christmas!”

Authorities haven’t officially connected the shooting to the destruction described by the neighbors and haven’t released the man’s name or other details.

Three Vineland officers were treated for minor injuries. The New Jersey attorney general’s office is investigating, as is required by law in deaths during encounters with law enforcement.