Police involved in standoff at Absecon motel. - NBC40.net

Search for gunman inside hotel turns up empty

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Hundreds of officers swarmed a local hotel after reports of a gunman inside.  The White Horse Pike was shut down for several hours while authorities scoured the property.

 Officers from across Atlantic County responded to the Comfort Inn on the White Horse Pike in Absecon just before 11:00 Thursday morning to search for a gunman who was believed to be hiding inside.  "It's confirmed, we have a credible witness that there was a gun," said Absecon Police Chief David Risley, "so we definitely are taking this very seriously."

 Emergency Response Teams, K-9 units, and officers from 8 different agencies responded to search for the suspect, who allegedly confronted a maintenance worker, with a gun, inside the 8th floor boiler room.  "We began searching the building from the top floor down," said Risley, "and as of this point, we have not located anyone still in the building."

 While the officers conducted their initial search of the building, the White Horse Pike was shut down in both directions for more than two hours, because officials say they didn't want to take any chances.  "They were afraid that he would get on the roof and then possibly start shooting at passing motorists or police officers down here," explained the Chief.

 In order to thoroughly search the building, police had to first make sure all the hotel guests were safe.  "There were approximately 20 rooms that were occupied and all the patrons are in a conference room," said Risley.

 Authorities say a second search was also conducted; just to be sure the gunman was no longer on the property.  "We've had the situation before and it took us 5-6 hours to search a building and we later found him hiding," said Chief Risley, "so we're not giving up yet.  But as of this point, we have not found anybody."

 Authorities say the gunman is described as a clean-shaven white man who's about 5'8" wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and black pants.

 Anyone with information is asked to contact Absecon Police at (609) 641-0067.

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