|TRENTON - The Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team is conducting an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Marshall Zamor, 39, of Sicklerville, who died while in the custody of the New Jersey State Police after being arrested on a drug charge on the Atlantic City Expressway on March 29.
According to the preliminary investigation, Zamor was stopped on the Atlantic City Expressway shortly before 11 a.m. on March 29 because the windows of his vehicle had illegal tinting. The trooper smelled the odor of marijuana and requested backup. Zamor was ordered out of his car and a probable cause search revealed what appeared to be two marijuana “blunts.” Zamor was arrested and brought to the Atlantic City Expressway State Police Station, where he was placed in a holding cell pending processing on the charge of possession of marijuana.
At some point prior to or after the arrest, Zamor concealed an unknown object in his mouth. Troopers at the station observed that Zamor had something in his mouth and entered the cell in an attempt to remove the object. Zamor would not cooperate and open his mouth to surrender the object. The troopers left the cell. Zamor continued to look and behave like he had something in his mouth. Troopers meanwhile retrieved protective plastic gloves, and several troopers re-entered the cell to try to remove the object. This time a trooper was able to swipe a chunk of a white rocklike substance from Zamor’s mouth, but he was unable to remove all of the partially chewed substance. Troopers held Zamor during these efforts, but no force was used by the troopers beyond the force needed to hold him and attempt to swipe the object from his mouth. Zamor did not appear to be in distress during or after these attempts to remove the object. After the second attempt, troopers called for EMS to respond, reporting that a prisoner had ingested suspected crack cocaine.
Zamor continued to work his mouth and wipe his mouth as if he had something in it. After a number of minutes, he began to appear restless and uncomfortable, repeatedly leaning over a sink in the cell, where he drank water and wiped his face, his clothing and the sink with toilet paper. At one point, he put a wad of toilet paper in his mouth. Troopers observed that Zamor appeared to be in distress. They entered the cell to assist Zamor, and Zamor again hunched over the sink. Troopers held Zamor as he hunched over the sink and a toilet in the cell. Zamor appeared to struggle with the troopers trying to help him, and they lowered him to the floor. Troopers placed Zamor on his side and continued to try to aid him as he began convulsing and lost consciousness. Troopers attempted to revive him with smelling salts. They then administered CPR to Zamor. EMS personnel arrived and took over the efforts to revive Zamor. Zamor was taken to Atlantic City Medical Center in Galloway, where he was pronounced dead.
Toxicology tests have not been completed and the autopsy report on Zamor has not been finalized. However, during the autopsy exam, a plastic bag was found obstructing Zamor’s larynx and a firm white substance was found in the larynx.
No further details are being released at this time because of the ongoing investigation.
Under an Attorney General Directive, the Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team, made up of deputy attorneys general, detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice, and detectives of the State Police Homicide Unit, are dispatched to handle investigations of shootings involving state troopers or officers employed by county prosecutors, as well as in-custody deaths involving such officers.
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