SOUTH BRUNSWICK – The South Brunswick Police Department announced the successful resolution to a gunman at an area hotel on Oct. 16.
“So often you only hear of these cases when officers are forced into a deadly situation. Here, officers were confronted by a gunman who threatened to harm others and was acting out. Officers used de-escalation techniques and time to safely take him into custody. This is a credit to the officers and their training,” Police Chief Raymond Hayducka said in the statement released on Oct. 19.
The incident unfolded just after 2 p.m. at the Hotel Vicenza, 3793 Route 1, South Brunswick. Officers arrived to find a 46-year-old male guest of the hotel reportedly had an argument with a staff member, and allegedly pulled out a handgun.
Police set up a perimeter and attempted to make contact and de-escalate the situation, according to the statement.
According to reports, the suspect repeatedly paced back and forth between the front breezeway and rear balcony of his second-floor room, and kept yelling profanities at unoccupied cars in the parking lot, according to the statement. At one point, Smith began using his cellphone to videotape officers while blowing kisses, according to reports.
Sgt. Anthony Pisano, Detective Rick Delucia, Private First Class Mike Leung, Officer Ryan Bartunek, Officer Kent English and Officer Jason Stonkus approached the man on the second floor. He reportedly retreated and ran back into his room, locking the door. Officers negotiated for 30 minutes trying to get him to speak with them. His erratic behavior continued with him yelling about diabetes and who he was going to vote for, according to reports.
Officers then made attempts to contact family members and were able to speak to the man’s sister. At 4:45 p.m. the man reportedly opened the door briefly and Delucia and English grabbed him from the room and pulled him into the breezeway, according to reports.
The suspect was placed under arrest and transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick for evaluation.
Detectives obtained a telephonic search warrant to search the room. A search of the room located a Taurus 9MM handgun, two fully loaded magazines, 27 ounces of marijuana, a pair of black gloves, a black ski mask, Ziplock bags and a scale, according to the statement.
The man has been charged with aggravated assault with a firearm, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, terroristic threats, and distribution of controlled dangerous substances.
On Oct. 16, while the man was awaiting evaluation in the emergency room of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, two South Brunswick officers were guarding him. The man allegedly began to act up, even while cuffed to his hospital bed, according to the statement. At one point, he threw urine at the hospital staff, according to the allegations. The officers moved in and the man allegedly spit in their faces.
Thus, the man has been charged with two additional counts of aggravated assault for spitting on the officers.
Both officers required medical treatment.
As of Oct. 19, Smith remained in the emergency room at the hospital with two South Brunswick officers guarding him until he can be moved to a secure facility.
“Too many people don’t realize the risks and dangers officers are willing to take to keep their communities safe. This group of officers showed the best of who we are,” Hayducka said in the statement.