LINDEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A wild chain of events unfolded in New Jersey Sunday, as police say an armed carjacking suspect broke into a home while a family was inside.
The standoff was even stranger because that family didn’t realize it there was an intruder inside until swat teams moved in.
Smoke grenades went off with a bang at the home in Linden Sunday morning, after swat teams surrounded the suspect in the basement.
“It sounded like a huge glass breaking,” Albert Fernandez said.
The 17-year-old said he and his mother were having breakfast when they heard their basement window shatter.
Later they would find out 50-year-old Willie Wright had hopped over their backyard fence, prowled along the side of their home, and smashed in a window with his foot – all in an attempt to hide from police.
Fernandez and his mother had no idea what was going on.
“We came back to the kitchen and we saw the police at the door. They’re knocking and they said ‘hey you guys need to get out’ and we said ‘oh my god this is serious, something must be wrong here.’”
Once they were safely outside, swat teams tried to get Wright to surrender. They used grenades at least three different times to flush him out.
After more than five hours of negotiating, police moved in. They came out with Wright in custody, but missing most of his clothes.
“I’m going to say that he looks like he took all of his clothes off and he was probably pretending to be crazy, maybe for the penalty to be easier on him,” the teen told CBS2.
The family says while Wright was barricaded, he wrote messages on the walls. One saying in part, “to my wife. I did love you! I’ll see you next life time.”
It’s unclear what Wright thought might happen to him, but the family says they’re thankful they never went down in the basement before police arrived at their front door.
Fernandez says the whole ordeal lasted eight hours before they were able to go back home.
Wright is now being held in the Union County Jail, charged with 10 different crimes. He’ll make his first court appearance later this week.