The detectives, who were expected to survive, were working in plainclothes when the shooting began around 8:30 p.m. local time in Camden, across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, the police said.

“They were essentially ambushed,” Chief Scott Thomson of the Camden County Police Department said at a news conference.

The detectives were taken to Cooper University Hospital, where they were being treated late Tuesday. Thomson did not describe the detectives’ injuries.

“At this point in time, our officers have non-life-threatening injuries,” he said.

One of the officers managed to return fire during the attack, but it was unclear whether the gunman was injured.

A manhunt continued late Tuesday, the police said.

Thomson said he could not speculate about a motive but noted that the detectives’ appearance gave no indication that they were with the police.

“Maybe they did know they were police officers and that’s the reason they did it,” he said. “Maybe they thought it was someone else.”

Whatever the reason, he said, “it was completely unprovoked.”

The New York Times

Sarah Mervosh © 2018 The New York Times