New Jersey

Off-Duty Cop Sitting in Barbershop Chair Thwarts Robber With Gun

Authorities say an off-duty police officer shot and wounded a man during an attempted armed robbery in New Jersey's largest city.

Newark authorities say a man armed with a handgun attempted a robbery at a barbershop shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday. The gun jammed when he pointed it at a young man cutting hair.

"What are the chances that you fire a gun two times, push, pull the trigger, and it doesn't fire?" said Joe Adams, a friend and co-worker of the targeted barber at Cachet Barbershop. 

The customer in the chair turned out to be an off-duty cop -- and he fired his gun during the robbery, hitting the suspect.

The officer "just happened to come by, they were having a conversation, that's the reason he was here," according to Adams. 

The suspect fled the scene and was chased by other officers who had responded to the scene. They caught him a short time later on McCarter Highway and recovered a gun.

Authorities say the suspect was being treated at a hospital for a wound that's not considered life threatening.

The suspect, identified as 42-year-old Phillip Hedgespeth, was arrested on robbery and weapons charges. He's being held at Essex County Correctional Facility until his court appearance, according to officials. 

It's not clear if he's retained an attorney. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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