Atlantic City police are continuing to investigate after a police officer’s stolen gun was found at a home where the family of a teen killed by police was staying.
Police searched the North Massachusetts Avenue home of Ecstasy Blackwell, 37, early Wednesday morning after an officer on patrol heard a gunshot and saw several people run inside the home.
Inside, police said, they found a loaded semiautomatic Glock 23 that was stolen from a Northfield police officer’s Egg Harbor Township home during a burglary last month.
Hours after finding the gun, police were called to a nearby home after a resident found a bullet had went through his first-floor kitchen window. The bullet is being tested to determine whether it came from the stolen gun, police said.
But at Thursday night’s Atlantic City Council meeting, Blackwell claimed police had planted the weapon there because the family of Derreck Mack was staying with her. Mack, 18, was fatally shot by police last week during a chase in the area of Stanley Holmes Village. Witness reports vary about whether Mack was surrendering or reaching for a gun when he was shot.
“Without question, the gun was not planted by the Atlantic City Police Department,” Public Safety Director Willie Glass said. “The gun was in the house when the officers went in there.”
Police said there were 11 people inside the Blackwell home when the gun was found, but they did not release the identities of anyone there, including Blackwell. But she said she was there, along with Mack’s mother, Ruby Conde, and his brother, Raymond Mack, 19, who had recently been bailed out of jail.
Raymond Mack was arrested for allegedly punching a sergeant shortly after his brother was shot. Supporters have said Mack was upset because he wanted to get to his brother. According to the charges, Raymond Mack was in possession of cocaine at the time.
It was unclear whether a gun being in the home would violate the terms of Mack’s bail.
“I don’t know what the conditions of the bail were,” police Chief Ernest Jubilee said.
Mack’s public defender was not in the office and therefore could not confirm those conditions.
Jubilee said he believes there will be charges in the case once the investigation is completed.
“They’re talking to the prosecutor about it,” he said.
At Thursday’s meeting, several of Mack’s supporters asked for more oversight of police officers, claiming some are disrespectful and violent toward residents. Mack’s mother called for the officer who shot her son to be named publicly, removed from his job and put in jail.
Authorities have urged people to be patient as the investigation continues.
“We have to wait for this process to play out,” said Glass, stressing that the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office is conducting an independent investigation.
“I understand the frustration and the pain of losing a child, and my sympathies go out to the family of the young man as well as the police officer involved in this incident and his family,” Glass said. “The most important thing is the investigation can’t be rushed. We are confident it’s going to be done thoroughly and impartially by the Prosecutor’s Office.”
Contact Lynda Cohen:
Follow @LyndaCohen on Twitter