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.”

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (67)
  1. dare from Vegas says:

    The victim did not kill the kid. He rendered him unconscious. All I see is a bunch of idiots stating that he killed the kid. The kid lived almost a year, in a vegetative state yes, but he was still alive.
    this is a non-story as far as using excessive force. It was hand to hand combat, and stranger things have happened when POLICE USE TASERS (non-lethal remember). Some people are more prone to brain trauma then others, and he could have had a previous brain injury that made the lack of oxygen more permanent as many mma fighters are choked to unconsciousness.

  2. Shana says:

    I’m going to be honest here…Doug and I have hated each other since he was in 7th grade, and myself in 8th. Sure he made a mistake, and he wasn’t my favorite person by any means, but why should he be made to suffer and die? Do you really think this man should get off with no charge although he clearly used unnecessary force on Doug? What he did calls for jail time, not death. He was practically a child, who had what I’m sure is a loving and heartbroken family, and hundreds of friends who will never see him again. Grow a heart people.

    1. Marcus2073 says:

      maybe if he was working or practicing his so called faith we would be alive now ; )

      I had my car stolen 4 times, and the loss of money was a pain in the ass! he got what he deserved!

      Get a job!

  3. Allison says:

    The Uhler familky does not deserve these hateful comments during such a dismal time in their lives. My son use to play roller hockey with the older Uhler boys and I know that this family has always put their children first and have tried their best, as parents, to bring their children up in a loving, caring, God-filled home. Most teens do make mistakes that they later regret…for all kinds of reasons…peer pressure, trying to act cool, etc. My opinion, this is a tragedy on so many levels. You should be praying for this poor family and a man that has to live with the fact he took another human beings live…for what? some change, a radio… I suppose it is easier to be so opinionated when you don’t have to put a picture of this griefing family into the mix or the last severl months that they had to watch their unresponsive son slowly die before their eyes. You should all be ashamed of yourselves!

  4. Walt Whitetrash says:

    The stupidity of most of these comments shows that you are angry white trash.
    May your children get cancer or die in auto accidents, then I will leave funny comments!

    Also, please commit suicide or get ass polyps.

  5. Jackson Manwoo says:

    Alex Montalvo is a filthy illegal alien from Peru. He needs to be deported.
    Get ball leukemia.

  6. Kelly says:

    All of you are most likely adults, and chances are have kids. i am a child i sit in class with this boys brother i see the pain he feels i see the pain in the hallways from the dealth of Doug. imagine he was your child. He is dead. He is never coming back. And the fact that all of you can sit here and bash him and tell him that he should have died? That is completely mind blowing. Its a good thing to know that if i, myself got into a incodent then the adults in society could sit here and shi* talk me. Glad to know. RIP Doug.

  7. metsfan12694 says:

    heres something a lot of people missed. if he shot him, thats different, because *bang* hes dead, instant. but he CHOKED him to death. after uhler stopped resisting, he proceeded to choke him, until he had died (the original article said he had to be revived at the scene). i dont care what happens, it is not acceptable to choke anyone to death.

  8. Scrama says:

    If you’ve ever seen a parent who’s lost a kid ~ you would not be so cavalier
    It’s true that the kid was a criminal and it may be half-true that the parents are to blame {I successfully eluded every one of my parents’ attempts to corral me and I upped the ante Every Time} I was lucky that I lived in The Stix and nothing bad ever happened to me {’til I grew up!}

    But, the true logic in the argument is that We Do Not Have The Death Penalty for theft YET ~ but if all y’all have your way that may change soon.


  9. joe beers says:

    “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.”

    Yeah dad, he did try to help a friend in need. His help was needed because they instigated a robbery, and got way more than they bargained for..

    Dad’s method of reasoning is exactly why his dumb son is dead. No common sense.

    Face it, you raised a bad seed.

    1. mike pill says:

      2 on 1 and he still lost. Adios, dirtbag

    2. Samantha says:

      Have some sympathy, KIDS MAKE MISTAKES. if this was your son or family member you wouldn’t be saying “raised a bad seed” and i actually happen to be in the brothers math class and i watch and hear what that poor family has to live with now and see. Keep your rude comments to yourself and grow up.

      1. The TRUTH says:


        Yeah, but objectively, Uhler’s actions led to his death. If it was your 42 yr old dad who killed a pair of 19 yr olds who broke into his car, you wouldn’t say that your dad deserved to go to jail for defending himself either.

        Can’t believe how people are pretending Uhler, this big football player who screamed “you want a piece of me $#*&#$?” was very nice and cooperative, and wasn’t threatening to the robbery victim before he got choked out. He tried to intimidate Montalvo, and probably was gonna beat him up and run away. How many people really think this is the first time he robbed someone. Do you honestly think it would have been the last had he gotten away? Uhler caused his death, he’s responsible. I have no sympathy for the dad who is trying to press charges and turn the story around like his son was the victim. His dad should just grieve and not glorify his son like he was some noble hero “defending his friend.”

      2. Samantha says:

        Okay the TRUTH… First off, my dad is dead. so thanks for that. The uhlers raised amazing children. RIP Doug.

    3. Uhler wasaCriminal says:

      Agreed. He didn’t deserve to die, but he definitely caused the events that lead to his deat. His dad said, if Montalvo just called the police, his son would still be alive. Well, if your son, didn’t try to rob someone, he would still be alive.

      1. Samantha says:

        okay the TRUTH… first off my dad is dead so thanks for that. And the Uhler family raised wonderful kids. RIP doug

  10. Claude says:

    I’m also puzzled by the father’s claim that his son was being noble when he jumped on a man more than 20 years his senior in order to “defend” his fellow thief. This young man was the aggressor, not the victim.

  11. Mummy says:

    I completely agree with some of the opinions – He said “If the man had just called the police none of this woudl have happened” no the reality is that if they hadn’t done something illegal to the point where someone felt the need to defend themselves none of it woudl have happened. I can’t comment on his parenting as sometimes regardless of how much parents try the kids still do bad things, and I am sorry his son was a Criminal but if anything the son should have compensated the father by living a good life if the father did his best to raise him. Rules I grew up with were “if you don’t like it, you don’t have to live here” and I never wanted to let myfather but most importantly myself down because I deserved the best I could accomplish. IMO that is how you should raise a child to do their best & to know they are loved. Guilt, Remose, Anger, do not a lawsuit make, nor does money bring back the dead, but having a therapist or someone to talk to can help heal an injured soul in this case.

  12. Gregory says:

    The parents raised their child and failed; he became a criminal; he died as a result of his criminal activity; it was self-defense. The parents are the ones who should be charged and held liable for damages because of their allowing anti-social behavior.

  13. joejoe says:

    If chokeholds are outlawed, only outlaws will have chokeholds.

  14. Elle says:

    From everything I have read, the only witness to this incident is the person who put Douglas Uhler into a chokehold which resulted in his death. It would seem to me his testimony is self-serving. It also seems vigilante-like. If teenagers were hanging around my car late at night, I might poke my head out the door, yell at them, and then call the police. I certainly would not take the law into my own hands and chase the teens. Most who have commented on this incident have only commented based on Montalvo’s story. No one has heard Douglas’s side, and sadly no one ever will.
    Many 18 year olds do foolish things, but do they really deserve to die for them?

    1. Carlos The Gringo says:

      and it is exactly that idiotic liberal mentality that gives criminals the run of the streets – wake up dummy and smell the coffee

  15. Dan Te says:

    Go to the thieve’s home town paper. They’re all rallying in support.

    1. Rod In says:

      Go to the thief’s home town paper. They’re all rallying in support.

  16. jj says:

    Giving chase then strangling for a burglary is taking the law into your own hands. Montalvo was wrong. Its the old saying two wrongs don’t make a right. When montalvo o decided to be the law instead of calling the police who are professionals then we taxpayers are actually seeing our money at work when cops are doing the jobs they were trained to do. If we all personally decided to be the law then why have a legal system. Perfect example is road rage we all have faced it er have seen people try to take revenge on a irresponsable driver. That’s not our job if we get caught we get fined or arrested for reckless driving the only difference here is montalvo decided to act on his own taking a life. Douglas didn’t kill anyone. He stole something. People break the law everyday. But we don’t kill them for doing so. Montalvo is wrong just like uhler snd must pay for his actions no Matter how justified he may feel.

    1. Bear Konnif says:

      YOu’re kidding, right? Are you actually seriously gonna defend this someone who ATTACKED a victim who was trying to defend and protect his own property? It’s unfortunate that the kid died but he should have known the consequences of his lawless actions. I doubt if Montalvo wanted to actually kill anybody but he was probably distraught and excited about having to defend himself and got caught up in the moment.

      1. regshn says:

        He wasn’t defending himself or his family. Montalvo was defending property. I guess that means more to some people than a human life. These insidious non-human comments sadly do not surprise me. This is the world we live in. I vow to never kill another defending my property. Darkness cannot drive out darkness…hate cannot drive out hate.

    2. Joejoe says:

      Moronic arguement to compare this to road rage. You have no authority to provide punishment for someone’s reckless diving. You certainly have the right to defend your property with reasonable force. If the police were called, the theives would have stolen the car, or soon been on to their next crime.

      1. regshn says:

        Police find stolen cars every day. This guy’s car was fine and would have been fine. This guy knocked one kid out and choked another to death. Over a car. Take my car, please. I would never choke anyone to death over a car. This Montalvo person has to now live with this fact every day of his life. If any of you call yourself Christians, what would Jesus have done? Choked someone to death? You are hippocrits.

  17. Wolf says:

    Back in the days of the Wild, Wild West, if a man (regardless of age or race) was caught stealing, he got shot. That was it. And back in those days crime was a rare thing. No parent wants to lose a child for any reason, very understandable. The man upstairs knows the truth and everyone involved will be judged by the One and Only in the end.

  18. badman says:

    is this sensationalist or what??

    remember the true story about a burglar who fell through a skylight as he was breaking in, sued the homeowner and won?

    CBS is fishing for outraged comments with a story like this. Everybody’s happy to oblige!!

  19. nyckat says:

    what..if this little THUG wasn’t breaking into cars and stealing he would still be alive- sorry DADDY dearest- your son is gone and can NEVER hurt another person again…hats off to Alex Montalvo for stopping him before this little thug took an INNOCENT life!!!

  20. jerseyjoey says:

    Good job, nothing better than killing thugs up close and personal with your hands, saves us taxpayers the trial and the lead, good job.

    1. Kirsten says:

      Completely rude comment, Your an adult and i’m a child and even i have enough common respect to not talk about a DEAD teenager like that, shame on you man seriously think before you talk

  21. Miss D says:

    Bravo Montalvo. Ya dd what you had to do.

    1. Kimi says:

      Get a soul.

  22. None of Your Business says:

    Right on, Bell Toller!!

  23. LaWanda Page says:

    Oh, snap!

  24. Glen from Manhattan says:

    Let’s take it back one more step, “If daddy had raised a decent, honest son, THEN none of this would have happened.” Too bad the victim cannot file a charge of negligent parenting against Mr. Uhler.

  25. Tbickle says:

    I feel horrible for everyone involved…but this (albeit, grieving) father is delusional. It sounds like based on this father’s reaction (the blame game)…this is where his kid
    learned how to skirt responsibility, become a bad citizen and ultimately turn to crime.
    It’s a tragedy and the car owner wasn’t out to kill… but, the kid thought he could make TROUBLE .. to his demise, he found it.

  26. Vic says:

    Sorry. Punk’s fault — “you want a piece of me?” It really is a sad story but le’t just lay off the dad. He’s having a hard time as a parent letting go of his son, is angry, mourning but the fact is his son tried breaking into a car, got caught and in his final minutes of arrogance, challenged the victim — Mr. Montalvo. Not Douglas Uhler. RIP young man.

  27. Sammy Davis, Jr. says:

    Don’t do the crime, if ya can’t do the time.

  28. Pi$$ed Off Long Islander says:

    And I quote: “If the man would’ve just called the police, then none of this would have happened,” Uhler told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg.

    If sonny-boy wasn’t breaking the law, then none of this would have happened.

    Sorry, I tell it like it is. One less criminal in the world.

    1. Bob Borzotta says:

      Thank you! Opinions aren’t worth much unless the facts are kept straight. Don’t expect victims to continue calling police who take too long to show up, only to put criminals into a system that coddles as much as it punishes. I feel for the father, but if he’s seeking an accountable party for his son’s death, it was his son first. And that’s a most basic premise of criminal law — you are responsible for anyone injured in your crime’s commission.

  29. LIREDNECK says:

    PARENT IS WRONG! His son was that night a thief….a thief who ran, then came
    at his “victem” in a state of rage….attacked the car owner, he then did what he
    needed to do…..the thief did not have to charge, attack , come at, the car owner.
    END OF STORY….wake up AMERICA the kid was WRONG….ADMIT IT…DONT

  30. Bell Toller says:

    Mr. Montalvo was defending himself against two thugs.

    Hopefully Mr. Uhler’s estate witll not waste the taxpyers money and file a lawsuit.

  31. Bell Toller says:

    Sounds like robbery victims do not have any rights.

  32. Degs says:

    Montalvo is at fault. If someone breaks in to my house and they are running away on my yard and I shoot them in the back I am at fault. He chased the kids down. Then after knocking out on of the kids the other went after him. You cant serve your own justice. Should the kids have been there breaking in to the car. God NO. But should he have given chase to catch them. No. Two wrongs dont make a right. If he wants to run down bad guys join the police. Otherwise let them do there job. When you pursue someone how can you claim self-defense.

    1. Bell Toller says:

      Degs are you an indiot the victim jumped him from the bushes.

      1. regshn says:

        Or so Montalvo claims.

    2. Tbickle says:

      Degs..your missing the point. What does it say as a society, when a “crime victim” is indicted for protecting life and/or property? I hope you never find yourself in that predicament. Besides, what are you a robot? Most people w/ a pulse, react when someone is DOING THEM WRONG. (I’m not saying it’s the smartest thing, just visceral)

      1. Tbickle says:

        I really cant say how much your comment irks me. So, Degs if you find yourself face to face w/ a home burglar next winter …be sure to open the door for him and salt your icy steps…we want to make sure he doesn’t bust his precious ass on the way out w/ your electronics. God forbid, he sues you for negligence…

    3. Jim says:

      You are wrong, he didn’t shoot him in the back. the Kid charged him. Also you as a citizen have the right to make a CITIZEN”S ARREST for crimes that are in fact committed(You witness it).
      The Kid was a perp and while he may have gotten more than he deserved, it was HIS fault.

    4. JOHN says:


  33. Carl says:

    Wish I could have done the same to the guy that broke in and robbed my house about 6 months age.

  34. pugphan says:

    I feel for the dad, as I myself am one of three sons, but I must wonder where was he when he son was growing up. I certainly believe that if he was there physically
    his son wouldn’t have been out there breaking into cars. It is tragically sad, beyond
    words, but Montalvo acted in self defense and in the heat of the moment. smokersodyssycom

  35. GW says:

    Pretty hard to have any sympathy for a thief, especially one who then assults the theft victim.

  36. mj says:

    yo get hurt or killed in the process of committing a crime … oh well too bad for you

  37. cindi says:

    Mr. Uhler, it is your fault your son is dead. Had you raised him to be an upstanding citizen and to respect other people and their property he would be alive today. You raised a criminal. Stop trying to blame others, and start blaming yourself for being a bad parent. You’re probably going to want to sue Mr. Montalvo. Looking for the big payday aren’t you?

    1. regshn says:

      Cindi you might want to check yourself for a pulse. Parents do their best. I see it all of the time…children turning out great despite their crackhead mothers and deadbeat dads…and children turning out making wrong choices despite their loving and christian upbringings. Please do not blame the real victims in this case. Hopefully they are smart and not listening to any of you morons.

  38. Jojo says:

    Montalvo acted in self defense. The kid came at him and the kid go the worst of it. If someone is coming at me and trying to take something that is mine I am going to try and stop them.

  39. None of your business says:

    Interesting comment from Daddy: that if the victim of the burglary had just called the police then “none of this would have happened.”

    It’s this way, Daddy: if your son hadn’t been trying to break into someone’s car, THEN none of this would have happened.

  40. C.J. says:

    That Uhler kid did it to himself when he decided to rob and try to assault Mr. Montalvo. The other idiot kid should be the one charged with Uhler’s death.

    1. Tina says:

      Isn’t that the law in the US? If someone dies as a result of actions during a crime the people committing the crime get charged with the murder, or something similar. Johnson did the robbery so he should be charged for the death

      1. regshn says:

        Tina you are obviously not a very bright or caring person. You are siding with someone trying to defend their PROPERTY, which, to some people, is valued much less than a human life.

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