Intense Search Lasts 5 1/2 Hours; Police Later Reacquire Suspect, Make Bust

GARFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Residents of a New Jersey town were resting a little easier Wednesday night, after a suspect was arrested following a lengthy and terrifying manhunt that necessitated a school lockdown.

The suspect was in custody as of 9 p.m., after SWAT teams from two counties went door-to-door in Garfield searching for him, police told CBS 2.

Details of how and where he was arrested were not immediately released.

The manhunt began around 8:30 Wednesday morning after the 47-year-old suspect fled police following a domestic violence call in Passaic, crashed his van into a building in Garfield, fled on foot and then tried to carjack another vehicle, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.

The manhunt came to an end around 2 p.m. after police concluded that the suspect had left the area, but the suspect was later located and arrested.

Earlier, the suspect was apparently seen running away within a block of Abraham Lincoln School 6 on Palisade Avenue in Garfield, prompting a lockdown which continued until the manhunt ended.

Parents told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan their kids were locked in their classrooms and that some hid under their desks.

“He doesn’t know about it. They told me that he didn’t find out what was going on, so thank God,” Alina Giegel said after picking up her young son from the school.

Police told Sloan the children were not in danger and the school was locked down as a precaution. The school was dismissed around 2:45 p.m., Sloan reported.

“We did put the school in lockdown to make sure that the children are safe,” said Garfield Police Chief Kevin Amos. “They locked the doors and ensured that nobody comes or leaves.”

The manhunt earlier was lengthy and terrifying, residents said.

“One of the individuals who caught him in the backyard said, ‘No you can’t hide here,’ and she just smelled alcohol on him,” said Garfield resident Cherice Ritchie.

“This is movie stuff, movie magic. It’s not in your backyard,” one local resident told Sloan.

Bergen County SWAT teams and Garfield Police went door-to-door in the area looking for the suspect, Jones reported. NJ TRANSIT’s tactical unit also joined in the manhunt, WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported.

“We did speak to a few residents that did watch him run into the backyards and we did search those areas and we made sure that he wasn’t there anymore,” Amos said. “We did not apprehend him, but we did a very thorough search of the area to ensure that everybody is safe.”

The suspect will likely face charges for the attempted carjacking and running from police, Putney reported.

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