ATLANTIC CITY — A day after Antoquan Watson led police on a 7-mile chase from Pleasantville to Atlantic City that ended in a hail of gunfire — a chase that began over an unpaid restaurant bill of less than $9 — his profile remained indistinct.

Watson on Thursday led police on a chase from La Escondida II restaurant in Pleasantville through parts of Egg Harbor Township and Ventnor into Atlantic City. At Atlantic Avenue, witnesses and police said, he fired at officers, who then returned fire and killed him.

Public records hold little information on Watson. He had lived at various addresses over the past few years, including on Albany Avenue in Atlantic City and Elderberry Avenue in Egg Harbor Township, but his most recent listed address was a post office box.

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The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office said Watson was from Williamstown, a section of Monroe Township in Gloucester County. The Monroe Township Police Department said Watson did not have an arrest record there.

The incident began when Watson tried to pay his bill at La Escondida. After two credit cards were rejected and he didn’t have enough cash to cover the bill — which restaurant owner Irma Lara said was just more than $8 — he pulled out a gun.

After he jumped in an SUV and drove off, Pleasantville, Egg Harbor Township and Atlantic City police eventually joined in the pursuit, which ended in a wild scene at the heart of the Atlantic City commercial district.

Angela Kleinman, the manager at Kitchen Collection at Tanger Outlets The Walk, was helping a customer in her store when the black SUV pulled up to the curb just yards from her front door.

She heard a shot, the first she had ever heard. Then she heard dozens more.

“It was a barrage,” she said. “My customer turned to me and he said, ‘They made Swiss cheese out of him.’”

On Friday, passers-by worried the incident might harm the city’s image.

“Why didn’t they stop him? Why did they let him make it all the way down here?” Laura Mathews Lamar asked as she and her husband examined the bullet holes in the glass across the street from where Watson’s vehicle stopped.

Security footage from two cameras just north of the shooting was unavailable. Donna Danielson, general manager of Tanger Outlets, said she could not share any of the footage because the investigation remains active.

Atlantic City and Pleasantville police referred all questions to the Prosecutor’s Office. Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Jay McKeen said no additional information was available.

Contact Steve Hughes:


@ACPress_Hughes on Twitter

Contact Steven Lemongello:


@ACPress_Steve on Twitter

Senior copy editor for the Press of Atlantic City. Have worked as a reporter, copy editor and news editor with the paper since 1985. A graduate of the University of Delaware.

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