WEST NEW YORK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A man who allegedly fled a traffic stop on foot and fired at police before barricading himself inside his home for several hours has surrendered without incident, police said Sunday.
As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, West New York Mayor Felix Roque said Sunday was far from another day at the office for him. Roque said comforting words he shared on the phone with a former U.S. military officer helped end the 12-hour standoff with the troubled man.
“I was actually able to talk to the individual a couple of times over the phone — talk to his mother in Florida,” Roque said. “And there was a connection because I actually had — I’m a doctor and I had treated his father who passed away, so we were able to connect. My wife also knew him personally.”
The mayor said the suspect, in his 30s and armed with a rifle, barricaded himself inside his home on 57th Street off Jefferson Street around 2 a.m. Sunday after fleeing the traffic stop. He fired at officers from inside his house, Roque said.
A total of 35 of residents who live nearby were evacuated as a precaution while authorities worked to negotiate a peaceful conclusion, CBS2’s Jessica Moore reported.
The gunfire woke up Denisse Montes and her family who live across the street.
“Very scary, because nothing like that has happened ever here,” Montes said. “I’ve been living in the same street for 16 years, and this is like the quietest neighborhood around here in West New York.”
One woman who lives nearby said she heard gunshots at around 2:15 a.m.
“I see the police officers just going with the guns, like moving around and you can see the flashlights just going around with the guns, so I just got down on my floor and I went to get my mom and dad and I was like ‘get on the floor, get on the floor, there’s gunshots going off,” one woman told WCBS 880’s Kelly Waldron.
More than 250 police officers from several jurisdictions secured the scene, while the FBI and negotiators from the Hudson County Prosecutor’s office tirelessly tried to convince the suspect to surrender.
Six hours into the standoff, police evacuated 35 neighboring families from their homes.
“I was very, very nervous because you never know if there somebody shooting,” Montes said. “They had, like, rifles. They were like, very prepared, so it was very scary.”
George Payan told CBS2’s Ali Bauman his parents were inside their home across the street from where the police were as he was coming home from a night out with friends. He said he has been in contact with his family, who said they heard gunshots early Sunday morning.
“The last time I spoke to them…I told my mom to tell my dad ‘don’t go outside,’ because my dad usually goes to work around this time,” Payan said. “I was talking to one of the cops and they told me to tell my relatives to not go outside.”
Payan’s parents also told him they were told to stay indoors and to not go near their windows.
The suspect finally gave up around 2:30 p.m. Sunday after speaking with police, his family and the mayor.
“All the agencies involved did a phenomenal job, and we were able to save this individual from hurting himself and actually hurting other people out here today,” Roque said.
It was not immediately clear what charges the man may face. His name has not been released.
No one was hurt during the standoff.
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