BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A 19-year-old New Jersey man has died more than eight months after authorities said he was put into a chokehold while trying to break into a car.
1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports: Alleged Suspect’s Father Speaks
Russell Uhler believes Alex Montalvo, 42, unnecessarily took matters into his own hands last year when he confronted his 19-year-old son, Douglas, and Brian Johnston.
“If the man would’ve just called the police, then none of this would have happened,” Uhler told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg.
Somerset County prosecutors said Montalvo gave chase after finding his car being broken into on July 31. Prosecutors say after Montalvo knocked out Johnston, Douglas ran out from bushes and shouted: “You want a piece of me, (expletive)?!”
Prosecutors say Douglas, a former high school football player, jumped on Montalvo, who put him in a submission hold, blocking the teen’s oxygen flow and causing a brain injury.
“He was seriously brain damaged,” Uhler said. “He was never able to speak or make any kind of meaningful movement after that.”
Douglas died on Sunday.
Johnson pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary charges.
A grand jury failed to indict Montalvo, who claims he acted in self-defense. He could not be reached for comment.
Uhler disputes reports that portray Montalvo as a hero. “If he wasn’t defending himself, as he claims he was, then he would be a murderer,” he said.
Uhler said if anyone can claim self-defense it’s his son. “He came to the aid of Brian and ended up being killed,” he said.
Uhler admits that his son wasn’t innocent in the incident but said Douglas did not deserve to die.
“I’m not going to try to tell you that my son was an angel,” Uhler said. “We don’t really know exactly what happened because the only eyewitness account came from the man who killed Doug.”
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