Police rescue suspect who jumped in bay to elude them after he started to drown

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – On June 28, Detectives Christopher Smith and Christopher Dodson were conducting surveillance in the area of Texas and Pacific Avenues when they observed a Ford Explorer parked in a parking lot. The two occupants engaged in a narcotic transaction with a man who approached them. After the transaction, the man returned to his vehicle and left. Assisting detectives began to follow the vehicle.

Detectives Smith and Dodson attempted to conduct a motor vehicle stop of the Explorer in the parking lot. While approaching the vehicle, the driver, Dwayne Townsend, reversed the Explorer and crashed into Detective Dodson’s vehicle. Townsend then sped forward causing Detective Smith to quickly move to safety. The vehicle then sped away running through a fence before entering Pacific Avenue. The detectives who were attempting to stop the other vehicle observed Townsend fleeing and diverted their attention to him. With assistance from several witnesses, the Explorer was located unoccupied at Morris and Sunset Avenues. Officers quickly located Townsend attempting to swim in the bay. Officers called for Townsend to exit the water and surrender, but he refused. He later voluntarily exited the water onto a dock before jumping back in as officers approached.

Townsend began to struggle and appeared to be going under water.

Sergeant Michael Tracy rescued Townsend and pulled him to safety. Townsend was fully clothed and struggling to breathe. Emergency personnel were summoned and Townsend had to be carried by officers from the dock. He was transported to the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City Division, for treatment.At the time of his rescue, Townsend was found in possession of two satchels.

One satchel contained a loaded, defaced handgun. The other contained heroin, marijuana, and cocaine. Townsend had two outstanding warrants for his arrest issued by the United States Marshals Service and Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office.The second man in the vehicle was not apprehended.

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