Undercover Officer Shot, Leaves Hospital

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC

    An undercover police officer who was shot and wounded during a drug sting at a northern New Jersey shopping center has been released from the hospital.

    The news was announced in a posting made on the Paramus police department's Facebook page. The officer is a nine-year veteran of the Paramus force, but his name has not been released because he works undercover for the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office's narcotics task force.

    County prosecutors have said the wounded officer was making a marijuana buy Tuesday afternoon when he was shot in the right hip and left lower leg.

    The officer was sitting in a parked vehicle when 25-year-old Passaic resident Rafael Vasquez allegedly approached the car and demanded that the unarmed officer "give him everything.''

    The officer and Vazquez were both shot during an ensuing struggle that involved other law enforcement officers involved in the sting.

    Vazquez and two other suspects- 19-year-old Melvin Guzman of Garfield and 21-year-old Patrick Morel of Clifton all face robbery, aggravated assault and weapons charges. Vazquez is also charged with attempted murder.

    Guzman and Morel both remained jailed Sunday on $750,000 bail. Both were arraigned on the charges during a court hearing Wednesday.

    Vazquez, who is being held on $2 million bail, is scheduled to make his initial court appearance on Monday in state Superior Court. Vazquez was not arraigned with his alleged co-conspirators because he was recovering from surgery for gunshot wounds to the left arm and left leg.