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Mantua man fatally shot by a police officer while making 911 call about trespassers

Courier-Post (Cherry Hill, NJ) logo Courier-Post (Cherry Hill, NJ) 10/7/2021 Jim Walsh, Cherry Hill Courier-Post
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MANTUA - A resident's 911 call reporting an armed trespasser ended with the sound of gunfire as a responding police officer fatally shot him, according to information released by the state Attorney General's Office.

Charles Sharp III spoke to dispatchers for more than four minutes, saying two men had tried to enter a shed and truck outside his Elm Avenue home around 1:35 a.m. on Sept. 14.

"One of them had a gun for sure," said Sharp, 49.

But after reporting he had thrown firecrackers at the intruders and saying he had a firearm in his home, Sharp stopped talking while the phone line stayed open.

Within a few seconds, voices can be heard in the background, including a command: "Put the gun down!"

"Are you talking with my officers?," the dispatcher asked. 

Eight seconds later, two bursts of gunfire erupted.

A Mantua police officer fatally shot Sharp outside his home, according to the Attorney General's Office.

"A detailed replica of a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun was found near Mr. Sharp," the agency said Wednesday in an account based on a preliminary investigation.

It said officers and medical personnel gave first aid to Sharp, who was taken to an area hospital and was pronounced dead at 2:49 a.m.

The Attorney General's Office on Wednesday released the 911 call and video footage from an officer's body-worn camera.

In the call, Sharp described going outside to "confront" the men, saying he "set off quarter sticks" in an attempt to scare them.

Sharp also said a woman is with the men, but that she's behind his fence.

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The dispatcher relayed that information to police, noting "one man possibly in his truck now."

Shortly before he stopped talking to a dispatcher, Sharp said, "My grandfather willed me a .45," he says. "I don't know what I'm allowed to do about that."

Two uniformed Mantua officers responded to the call. Authorities have not released the name of the officer who shot Sharp, a carpenter who served in the U.S. Air Force for 21 years.

The body cam footage shows police cautiously approaching Sharp after the shooting.

"Watch, he's got a gun on him," one officer warns.

"Is it the homeowner?" asks another policeman.

"I don't know," an officer answers. "The guy came out and pointed a gun."

"When he pointed the gun, I thought he was going to (expletive) shoot me, dude," the officer continues.

Investigators reviewed the recordings with Sharp's family and their attorney prior to their release, the Attorney General's Office said.

An investigation is continuing into the shooting, it said.

A state law requires an investigation into any death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in an official capacity or while a person is in custody.

Jim Walsh covers public safety, economic development and other beats for the Courier-Post, Burlington County Times and The Daily Journal.

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This article originally appeared on Cherry Hill Courier-Post: Mantua man fatally shot by a police officer while making 911 call about trespassers

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