The Bridgeton Police Department in New Jersey is in mourning after an officer died following what authorities say was an "on-duty life-saving incident."
Officer Sean Peek, 49, passed away after jumping into the Cohansey River in an attempt save a burglary suspect on early Sunday morning, according to Bridgeton Police Chief Michael A. Gaimari Sr.
Peek, who had been with the department for 15 years, responded to a burglary call at an ambulance dispatch station around 1:30 a.m. when he saw a person running into a wooded area before either falling or jumping into the nearby river, authorities said.
“Sean made a decision as would any officer and entered to water in attempt to pull the person from the running waters no matter what the circumstances,” Gaimari said in a statement. “The woman eventually made it across the river but Officer Peek had difficulty making it back to shore as he was still donning all of his equipment and gear.”
Peek was pulled from the river by his colleagues, while other responding officers apprehended the suspect, according to police. The two were then taken to Inspira Health Center for treatment.
Gaimari said Peek had been "relieved of duty until cleared to return to work" when family members found him unresponsive at his home hours following his release from the hospital.
A cause of death has not been released pending an autopsy.
Peek is survived by his wife Megan and their 8-year-old daughter Kate.
“We are naturally devastated here at the department, Sean was a fine officer and a friend to all and always acted in an exemplary fashion when representing the department and the City of Bridgeton," Gaimari said.
The suspect — identified by authorities as Sarah Jeanne Davis, 29 — was arrested and charged with burglary and criminal mischief for allegedly causing more than $1,000 in damage.
Davis was held at the Cumberland County Jail pending completion of the investigation.
It is unclear if she has obtained an attorney who can speak on her behalf, or if she has entered a plea at this time.
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