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Officer, suspect both critical after Bergen County shooting

A Westwood man is in critical condition, as is the Paramus police officer he's accused of shooting in an exchange of gunfire late Sunday night after an attempted traffic stop.

The Bergen County prosecutor's office said it has filed charges of attempted murder against the man accused of shooting Officer Rachel Morgan several times. The suspect has a history of drug arrests, but it's not known yet if he is accused of having illegal drugs in his vehicle at the time the officer pulled him over.

The 23-year-old man was wounded in return fire from Morgan or other officers, officials said.

Morgan attempted to stop the suspect on Route 17 around 11 on Sunday night. He raced off, however, with the officer in pursuit. He lost control of his silver-colored car at the entrance to the Garden State Parkway.

When Morgan approached his car, the defendant allegedly opened fire with a 9mm handgun, hitting the officer several times in the abdomen. She was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time and is reported to be in critical but stable condition at Hackensack University Medical Center.

The suspect was arrested in the fall of 2006 on a charge of marijuana possession, driving while intoxicated and having false license plates on his vehicle. In October of 2008, he was arrested for distributing more than 50 grams of marijuana at a Hackensack school.

The article on the Paramus Patch Web site was unable to say if he had been convicted of any of the charges.

Resource: Paramus Patch: "Charges Filed Against Westwood Man Who Allegedly Shot Paramus Officer": February 7, 2011