Accused Shoplifter Shot, Killed After Allegedly Taking Hostage At Woodbridge Mall

WOODBRIDGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — An accused shoplifter was shot and killed by police after allegedly taking a shopper hostage at knife point at the Woodbridge Center Mall in New Jersey late Thursday afternoon.

The Middlesex Prosecutor’s Office said the suspect wouldn’t let the hostage go. He was then was shot and killed by a uniformed police officer, working an extra-duty job at the mall, 1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer reported.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer Reports

The young woman who was held hostage was not injured in the incident, according to witnesses. The suspect may have been trying to steal pants from a Hollister store, witnesses said. The suspect ran away toward Sears, where he allegedly held the female hostage with a large kitchen knife to her neck and where he was eventually shot around 5:30 p.m.

The Sears store was shut down just before 6 p.m.

“All of a sudden, they shut down the gates at Sears. We took off running cause we knew something happened. My sister-in-law called to say ‘Get out of the mall, there was a shooting,'” Colleen Veder told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Monica Miller Reports

“The guy got away and was running with the knife, and then not even a minute later, you heard a shot and then everybody screaming, everybody just starts running,” another witness said.

“We found everybody saying ‘Do not go in the mall…something crazy’s going on in the mall, don’t go in the mall,'” witness and Woodbridge resident Tyler Bruno said.

An employee at F.Y.E. told 1010 WINS that she saw a man running away from police and mall security and said she heard “a bunch of commotion.”

“The guy got away from the people that were wrestling him down and he ran past — he had a knife in his hand. When he ran past the store, he ran down toward Sears and…I couldn’t see anything else after that,” she said.

Another witness, an employee at ECKO Enterprises, told 1010 WINS people in the mall didn’t know what was going on at the time, until they heard gunshots.

“Once you heard the gunshots, you heard everyone scream and running. I was just trying to get people into my store and telling other stores to close up their shops,” he said.

Police have not released the identity of the suspected shoplifter, but witnesses described him as being in his later 20s or early 30s.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …

Comments

One Comment

  1. NJ Mom says:

    Robert, unless your daughter is also a criminal you don’t have to worry about an officer shooting her! He’s a convicted felon, him being in a mall scares me more than a trained officer. He choose to elevate his crime from a minor shoplifting charge to a felony. Why defend him, were you his cellmate in the past and you miss him?

  2. treeeet says:

    another feel good story, i cried, tears of happiness, when i read it…..

  3. NJ Mom says:

    This guy was a Convicted felon with a long list of alias names who was released in Aug 2010 by September he had violated parole. One freaking month! Then he decides to drive an hour away to go to a mall to commit another theft with a weapon. He threatened the girl in Holisters with his knife. So the officer already is aware this guy is armed. He sees the officer coming runs out of the store heads to Sears. Grabs a 62 year old woman by the hair and uses her as a human shield. Repeatedly he says I am going to kill her. The cop several times tells him to put down his knife. He refuses. The cop saw his opportunity and one shot boom. It is all over. Don’t see anything wrong with this picture? I am proud of the officer and I want to thank him and wish him the best because unlike the person he killed I am sure he values human life. This will change his life forever.

  4. lee says:

    The FBI and DEA fabricate evidence, steal from suspects and use murder to close bad cases.
    After two wars spanning ten years, the U.S. Military has become proficient in its concealment and use of torture. Torture is also being used by the DOJ (Department Of Justice) to help fabricate evidence and punish dissent.

    The FBI and DEA use sleep deprivation, drugging, humiliation, psycological stress, stress positions, threats of violence, threats of death, etc… Suspects respond better to suggestion and hyptotism which in turn make for higher conviction rates.

  5. The Truth Speaks says:

    The perp was a 45 year old convicted Robber,who was wanted for violating his Parole, so stop calling the Cop a Bad Guy,and start calling him a HERO !

  6. William says:

    Not every hostage situation allows that time to wait for a NEGOTIATOR… Some of you people watchway too many movies. He did what he had to do and the girl is safe. When you take a hostage, there is a risk that YOU yourself can be killed. It would have been nice if he took a shot in the arm. Maybe the cop was aiming to wound him and hit a vital area because the kidnapper moved. At least the girl is OK. Some people are becoming so friggin’ judgemental of the NYPD. These same people will beg for a police officer when they’re in danger- FOR SURE!! It’s a mystery why anyone would want to become a cop or stay on the force these days. Pretty damn sad!!

  7. Daisy says:

    To all you that support the thug, try to understand, the low-life thug chose:
    1) to bring a knife to the mall
    2) to attempt to steal something
    3) to resist arrest
    4) to take an innocent person hostage and put the knife 9see #1 if you forgot) to her throat

    How is it anyone’s fault but his won that he is dead?

  8. Robert says:

    I don’t understand how people can celebrate the loss of a human life. Good policework would’ve been the guy talked into dropping the knife. This guy didn’t go to the mall looking to kill anyone, he went to steal some clothing….

    1. rabble rouser says says:

      and I guess the knife was for eating his steak dinner…………..because,everyone carries a knife to go shopping or shoplifting……………good police work,was removing him as a threat to others,which was well done by the Officer

    2. Daisy says:

      So, do you think it would have been better to wait until the thug (who had chosen to commit a crime in the first place) cut the woman’s throat? The best police work is no INNOCENT people are harmed.

    3. William says:

      I guess ROBERT, you can’t imagine that young lady is your daughter, wife, sister….. Honestly, how the Hell do you know WHY he had that knife??? Unreal!!!!!

      1. Robert says:

        Maybe if an armed officer wouldn’t been at the mall..it might not have escalated into a confrontation which lead to a woman with a knife at her throat..and the shoplifter getting killed. My 15 year old daughter frequents that mall, and the idea that armed police are there makes me more uneasy..not less.

        1. OHMY says:

          I suggest you keep your daughter locked in her room until her wedding day…………..

        2. Amtracmarine says:

          I was thinking the same thing. Did this guy grab a hostage because Wyatt Earp pulled his gun??

        3. Amtracmarine says:

          I agree with you Robert. Maybe the shoplifter took the hostage because Wyatt Earp pulled his weapon.

          1. Mary says:

            And I guess he took the knife to the mall just in case someone tried to stop him from committing another crime. And of course, it’s the fault of teh people that rtied to stop the crime, not the criminal that did the crime, right?

        4. jonny blaze says:

          would you feel this way if it was your daughter who was held as a hostage? it’s insane to do anything but commend the efforts of the police here.

    4. injun says:

      Now he can eat Tacos in HELL!

    5. jonny blaze says:

      idiot comment. we are all better off without this low life. would you be mourning the death of this pathetic loser if it was YOUR DAUGHTER’s neck that held a knife to?

    6. USArmyCombatMedic says:

      He did try to talk the man into dropping the knife; and the man didn’t. So, is good police work allowing a hostage-taker to kill an unarmed civilian?

      Tell me, tell US (everyone else questioning you), where does one draw the line? If the man is unwilling to cooperate, at what point in your mind does a police officer end the hostage situation with lethal force?

      In other words, if YOU were that officer, and the man wasn’t putting his knife down (and continued to hold it at the throat of an innocent woman), what would you do?

  9. LouiseP says:

    Good thing that cop was a good aim, or that woman would be dead right now. The shoplifter prolly never thought a rent-a-cop security guard at the mall would turn out to be a real cop. haha jokes on him. God bless the cop who wasn’t too proud to work a side job to protect the public. He deserves an award. He did what had to be done.

    1. Rocker80 says:

      Louise it is not right to call a security officer a rent a cop. how would you like it if one them shows you what a rent a cop is?

      The cop should be charged with murder.

      1. Siox says:

        He is a cop Rocker80, why don’t you read the entire story before you make yourself look like a jackass again.

    2. rabble rouser says says:

      I agree Louise………………he did the right thing in a stressfull situation,and saved the hostage from any injury.And for this he should be rewarded.Those of you who offer support for the thug that perpertraded this fiasco,should have your heads examined………….he was a criminal,and raised this from a simple shoplifting to a hostage situation with a weapon involved…the weapon he chose to bring to the mall for his shoplifting offense

  10. max says:

    im sure the dead guys family is going to sue
    thats how society works
    you commit a crime and suffer the consequences and then you sue
    im not saying this guy should be dead but if he held me hostage at knife point i would thank the guy who sho him

  11. BOB says:

    So i guess the people who think the cop went too far are ok with having a knife put up against your neck. See folks there’s this little arterie there that if you cut it right you’ll die. Thank god the officer was able to aim right.
    Someone thinks its unjust?????? Good. Next time you have a knife to your neck tell the officer to go have a cup of coffee and come back. But by that time you’ll be in a trunk somewhere wishing the cop had done something. Then you;ll blame the cop fopr not doing anything.

    1. Rocker80 says:

      bob there were people in the mall. What would have if an innocent bystander was shot?

      Don’t you use common sense?

      1. NICOLE says:

        I MEAN YEA HE DIDNT HAVE TO SHOOT THE GUY IN THE HEAD BUT WHEN A INNOCENT WOMAN IS AT STAKE AND YOU A COP YOU SUPPOSE TO DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO TO SAY THE LADY. NOONE KNOWS IF HE HAD A CLEAR SHOT AT THE GUYS LEG OR ARM OR WATEVA. HE DID WHAT HE THOUGHT WAS RIGHT. A MAN DIED BECAUSE HE TRIED TO STEAL CLOTHES AND WHEN HE GOT CAUGHT INSTEAD OF JUST SURRENDERING HE RAN AWAY AND GRAB SOME RANDOM LADY ( SOMEONE’S MOTHER, SISTER, AUNT, ETC) AND HELD HER AT KNIFE POINT. REST IN PEACE TO THE SHOPLIFTER BUT IM NOT SORRY HE GOT SHOT AND I DONT KNOW WHY PPL ARE DEFENDING HIM BUT HEY…. EVERYONE HAVE THEIR OPINION…

        1. NICOLE says:

          I MEAN YEA HE DIDNT HAVE TO SHOOT THE GUY IN THE HEAD BUT WHEN A INNOCENT WOMAN IS AT STAKE AND YOU A COP YOU SUPPOSE TO DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO TO SAVE THE LADY. NOONE KNOWS IF HE HAD A CLEAR SHOT AT THE GUYS LEG OR ARM OR WATEVA. HE DID WHAT HE THOUGHT WAS RIGHT. A MAN DIED BECAUSE HE TRIED TO STEAL CLOTHES AND WHEN HE GOT CAUGHT INSTEAD OF JUST SURRENDERING HE RAN AWAY AND GRAB SOME RANDOM LADY ( SOMEONE’S MOTHER, SISTER, AUNT, ETC) AND HELD HER AT KNIFE POINT. REST IN PEACE TO THE SHOPLIFTER BUT IM NOT SORRY HE GOT SHOT AND I DONT KNOW WHY PPL ARE DEFENDING HIM BUT HEY…. EVERYONE HAVE THEIR OPINION…

      2. BOB says:

        The police would not have pulled there weapon if bystandereds were in the line of fire. Unless you like standing infront of a guy that has a gun pulled.
        That’s common sense.

        1. Rocker80 says:

          thepolicemanwas wrong

          1. Siox says:

            JUSTICE WAS SERVED!!!! AMEN.

          2. Siox says:

            Rocker80, please humor us and tell us how you would have handled the situation? Please hero, humor us some more.

            1. Rocker80 says:

              shot him in the leg

              1. NICOLE says:

                i repeat I MEAN YEA HE DIDNT HAVE TO SHOOT THE GUY IN THE HEAD BUT WHEN A INNOCENT WOMAN IS AT STAKE AND YOU A COP YOU SUPPOSE TO DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO TO SAVE THE LADY. NOONE KNOWS IF HE HAD A CLEAR SHOT AT THE GUYS LEG OR ARM OR WATEVA. HE DID WHAT HE THOUGHT WAS RIGHT. A MAN DIED BECAUSE HE TRIED TO STEAL CLOTHES AND WHEN HE GOT CAUGHT INSTEAD OF JUST SURRENDERING HE RAN AWAY AND GRAB SOME RANDOM LADY ( SOMEONE’S MOTHER, SISTER, AUNT, ETC) AND HELD HER AT KNIFE POINT. REST IN PEACE TO THE SHOPLIFTER BUT IM NOT SORRY HE GOT SHOT AND I DONT KNOW WHY PPL ARE DEFENDING HIM BUT HEY…. EVERYONE HAVE THEIR OPINION…

              2. Ochocero says:

                This dumbass watches too much TV/too many movies. In the heat of the moment, a police officer is not going to stop and think about shooting someone in the leg. Even if he/she did, the guy could still have harmed the woman. Your best shot is to aim at a part of the body with the most surface area and put a quick end to the situation, not shoot them in the LEG, you retard!

                1. Steven says:

                  shoot to kill.

              3. Siox says:

                shot him in the leg? NO.

          3. injun says:

            This mutant deserved to be shot by the police. Actually it was very fine Police work and marksmenship also.

      3. yippyIOkayyea! says:

        Once he pulled a knie and took a hostage,he went from Shoplifter to Armed Kidnapper/Hostage Taker ,and he deserved what he got

      4. yippyIOkayyea! says:

        Once he displayed a knife and took a hostage ,he went from Shoplifter to Armed Kidnapper/Hostage Taker,and he thus got what he deserved………….

    2. yesindeed says:

      the perp chose to use a weapon and take a hostage,he got exactly what he deserved…………………………………

    3. Siox says:

      AMEN.

  12. Rocker80 says:

    Hopefully the prosecutor of Middlesex County orders an investigation for excessive force by the policeman who this shoplifter in the head.

    The police officer did not have to shoot this suspect in his head. Totally unjust.

    Shoplifting is wrong but police sharpshooting at a shopplifter knife or no knife is absurd.

    1. Me says:

      You clearly don’t have a clue.

      1. Rocker80 says:

        police bruatlity

    2. yesindeed says:

      rocker your either an idiot or a shoplifter

      1. Rocker80 says:

        niether

    3. max says:

      Maybe that is the only part of him that was exposed adn could be shot

    4. Robert says:

      I don’t understand how people are happy this guy is dead. If that officer hadn’t been there to shoot him dead…the guy would’ve gotten away with something really awful….like stealing a pair of pants. I think really good policework would’ve been the guy being talked into dropping the knife.

      You know what really scares me..the idea that some of the comments in support of this shooting could be from folks in law enforcement..and after reading them..i’m frightened.

      1. Daisy says:

        So, what if talking didn’t work? Do you think that seeing an innocent person harmed would have been better? Try to understand, the low-life thug chose:
        1) to bring a knife to the mall
        2) to attempt to steal something
        3) to resist arrest
        4) to take an innocent person hostage and put the knife 9see #1 if you forgot) to her throat

        How is it anyone’s fault but his won that he is dead?

        1. Robert says:

          “low-life thug”..where was that in the story?

          1. Mary says:

            What should he be called? Upstanding citizen?

            1) criminal record
            2) parole violater
            3) brought knife to mall
            4) attempted to commit another crime
            5) resisted arrest
            6) took innocent woman hostage and put a knife to her throat

            If it looks like a thug, and acts like a thug…

    5. Mary says:

      I guess Rocker thinks it’s better to wait for a thug to harm an innocent person.

    6. jonny blaze says:

      easy to talk like that when it’s not YOU or YOUR FAMILY that was put in danger

  13. Tom says:

    This shoplifter got exactly what he deserved. Haha!!! Burn in hell forever!!!

  14. judyg says:

    i believe this was a suicidal act by a person who no longer could hold it all together. things are very bad for a great many people. stealing a pair of pants, means you can’t afford to buy a new pair. very nice country we’re living in now.

    1. yesindeed says:

      Judy, he was probably a drug addict stealing for drug money,don’t even think about feeling sorry for him.his family maybe,but not this low life perp

    2. USArmyCombatMedic says:

      1) if he was suicidal, he could have used that knife to kill himself, couldn’t he? I don’t buy that…
      2) stealing pants doesn’t always mean you can’t afford pants. Example: Lindsay Lohan vs. Jewelry Store
      3) Judy, have you been out of the country lately? Have you seen war-torn and third-world countries? Because I have. And America IS a nice country. I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else.

  15. Dr meh says:

    He took a hostage at knife point, he crossed the line from petty theft to major felony.

    1. Scott says:

      Good point

    2. NJ Mom says:

      Exactly, that was the decision HE made, not the officer nor the hostage!!!! Now we dont have to pay taxes to feed his sorry a$$ in prison

  16. Scott says:

    I always new undercover cops had deep seeded mental disorders and a underlying hatred for people in general, but there is nothing in Sears, or any other store in that mall, worth killing a person over. They should have let him leave not only the store but he mall before thay attempted to apprehend him. Total disregard for other peoples welfare when you have to shot and kill a petty thief. Pathetic.

    1. Arnie says:

      What??? He committed a theft. And it does not say whether the pants were all he was stealing. When attempted to be apprehended he resisted and then produced a weapon and took a hostage. Did you not read that??? And your grammar is as bad as it gets. Learn to spell. Are you a shoplifter? Theft from stores regardless how small is still a crime and not something you can look away from. Thats the problem with this country today. Illegal is illegal. Period. It costs everyone more when shoplifters steal. And the article also stated it was a uniformed officer and NOT a plain clothes officer. He did his job, saving the woman held hostage who refused to cooperate with a lawful order. If the man had not stolen to begin with all would be fine. Even if he let himself be arrested after and not resisted or taken a hostage all would be fine too. After all as you said it was just a petty theft. Learn to read and write. And understand the world.

    2. yesindeed says:

      The cop was in full uniform Scott,not in an undercover capacity………get your facts streight

    3. NICOLE says:

      YOU SOUND STUPID AS HELL….

    4. Roy says:

      Ok, this comment is for you and all of the other morons that can’t understand that this guy was shot for threatening someone’s life, not stealing a pair of pants. If he hadn’t held a hostage, then yeah, this would have been excessive force. But the suspect used lethal force when he took the hostage with a knife, so the officer’s actions are 100% justified by our laws. Idiot.

      1. Siox says:

        Absolutely Roy!! This ass**le had a knife to a woman’s neck! The officer did his job right. Justice. That officer knew what the situation and options were, he knew what the outcome would have been if he didn’t handle the situation properly. Too many stories about innocent people injured because of the bad guy, this story the bad guy lost. The innocent are alive and out of harms way THANKS to the officer.

        1. NICOLE says:

          justice was served…. dats all that matters… i dont feel bad for him at all….

      2. Ochocero says:

        Agreed, Roy!!! It’s a shame that there are so many people in this world with no brains!

      3. NJ Mom says:

        Exactly, well said Roy!

    5. USArmyCombatMedic says:

      There are hundreds of things in malls that are worth killing over. They are called HUMANS. Do you not realize that the innocent woman would have suffered if that man had slit her throat? It takes between 1 and 5 minutes to die after that (depending on severity of the laceration), and the whole time (or, rather, most of the time) she would be conscious and aware of the fact that she is dying. She would have died from lack of oxygen and blood loss.

      This thief got off easy. He was dead before his body hit the floor.

  17. DOUBLE_CHINNED_PUPPETEER says:

    So who ate the oysters?

  18. Raymond Leslie says:

    I think all the money stolen from the social security trust fund be returned to the rightful owners.

    1. USArmyCombatMedic says:

      Way to add to the discussion. Thanks for the brilliant comment!

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