As off-duty police officer Jorge Farinas drove through Elizabeth one afternoon, a teenager waving a silver revolver immediately caught his eye.
Dozens of other teenagers on the street scattered, but the 25-year-old officer pulled over. Guessing he was a cop, the teenager raced down High Street, still clutching the handgun.
The young, fleet-footed officer caught up to the youth and tackled him, according to Elizabeth Police Chief Ronald Simon, and since Farinas had no two-way radio or cell phone, he had to flag down a passing ambulance to radio headquarters, Simon recounted Friday.
“Farinas was a physical phenomenon,” Simon told a crowd of police and fire officials gathered at an annual awards luncheon in Mountainside, as he accepted an award for valor on Farinas’s behalf.
Farinas, a member of his department since 2006, was one of seven officers honored yesterday by the 200 Club, a nonprofit organization that recognizes exemplary firefighters and police. But he was unable to accept his award in person: As a National Guard reservist who repairs helicopters, Farinas had just been deployed to Afghanistan the day before.
Simon promised to hold onto the award — which includes a medal, plaque and savings bond of an undisclosed amount — until he returns. After the ceremony, the chief said this situation “is a first for us.”
“We naturally have high hopes and every belief that he’ll be back with us next year,” Simon said of Farinas. “He’s a part-time soldier, but he’s a full-time police officer.”
The six other honorees included officers who had confronted armed men without firing a shot themselves, or who swam out into a riptide to make a daring rescue, according to their supervisors.
“I wonder sometimes how it is that people get into this line of work,” marveled the ceremony’s keynote speaker, former governor Thomas Kean, who described their accomplishments as extraordinary yet tangible.
“Every day of your lives, you are doing something real,” Kean told the officers.
Those recognized were Summit Police Lt. Robert Weck; Detective Jonathan Vorob and Officer Erik Finne, both of the Union County Sheriff’s Office; and Elizabeth Police Department Officers Scott Pevonis, Michael Kurinzi, Douglas Fields and Farinas.
Weck was off duty when he rescued a drowning boy after leaving his own wife and child to swim out into a riptide at Long Beach Island last summer with just a Boogie Board in hand.
Vorob and Finne, whose job is to arrest fugitives subject to court warrants, chased and arrested an armed man on a rooftop in Elizabeth without firing a single shot, Union County Sheriff Ralph Froehlich said.
Elizabeth police officers Pevonis, Kurinzi and Fields were on patrol in August when gunshots rang out at the Oakwood Plaza apartment complex. After a man told them he was robbed at gunpoint, the officers spotted several suspects and started chasing them. One suspect turned and fired two rounds at the officers, who fired back, according to Elizabeth police. The suspects fled the scene in a getaway car, but were later apprehended.
Farinas, their fellow Elizabeth police officer who caught the gun-wielding teenager, is also the type who “likes to get in there and help” regardless of the danger of his job, said his stepmother, Leslie Farinas, reached by phone Friday.
She said the family was unable to attend Friday’s ceremony due to Farinas’ deployment, which came as a shock. Her stepson is not a “showy” person, but would have loved to be there to accept his award, Leslie Farinas said.
“He feels very honored, I’m sure,” she said. “I watched him grow up and play cops and robbers all the time, and I just thought it was a phase. I just hope he succeeds and stays safe and is able to do what makes him happy.”
The first time I was killed, it wasn’t with a bullet, but with a wrench.
I had pulled my gun out of its holster when the angry man started walking toward me, but kept my finger off the trigger. He wasn’t armed, right? Surely I shouldn’t shoot.
He was yelling something. Coming toward me, faster now. Swinging the wrench. Drop it, I ordered him. Drop it! He ignored me.
Shoot? Don’t shoot? It was decision time.
And in the seconds it took me to make up my mind, he brought the heavy tool down on my head. Everything got dark.
Since February, Bucks County police officers have fatally shot three people. None was wielding a gun, but allegedly threatened the officers with a shard of glass, a knife and a brick, respectively.
The glass shard incident involved a Bristol Township man who reportedly lunged at two cops and a probation officer inside his cluttered apartment in February. After an investigation, District Attorney Michelle Henry ruled the officer was justified in using deadly force.
The two most recent fatalities remain under investigation, and raise more questions:
On April 9, a Bristol police officer shot and killed a 69-yearold man who police officers said was brandishing a chef ’s knife as they tried to remove him from his car after a minor traffic accident. The man’s family claims he was partially paralyzed from a stroke and wasn’t strong enough to threaten police.
Last weekend, 21-year-old Tommy Lovett, a man with a history of learning disabilities and violent outbursts, was shot by a Middletown police officer in a wooded area outside the Oxford Valley Mall.
Witnesses said Lovett, of Middletown, attacked a 17-yearold girl in the mall parking lot and tried to gouge her eyes out with his fingers.
Police officers said he had picked up a brick and threatened them with it when they tried to arrest him.
County detectives still are gathering information about both shootings, so prosecutors are not saying much about them now.
But many in the community have asked why police used guns to stop the men, instead of subduing them in a less deadly manner. Or why couldn’t they just shoot the attackers in the leg?
“We are trained to shoot to incapacitate,” said Sgt. Richard Vona, a Warwick police officer and training coordinator at the county’s Police Training Center in Warrington.
“How many times are we taught to fire? Enough to incapacitate.”
Vona is a firearms instructor, one who trains local police officers in the county’s AIS PRISim simulator, a room-sized, laserguided interactive video and computer system that the county purchased with a $95,000 Homeland Security grant two years ago.
The simulator has a decisionmaking mode, which presents officers with real-life scenarios such as a violent domestic assault call, an armed man inside a school, or a despondent person intent on committing suicide.
As a reporter aiming to understand the shootings better, I spent a recent morning in the simulator.
I did well in the practice part of the test, landing almost all of my shots in or close to the bull’s eyes on the head- and torsoshaped targets. The Glock 17, a common police-issued weapon (mine fired a laser, not bullets) felt solidly comfortable in my hand.
As a fan of zombie-killing video games, I was fairly confident about my shooting ability.
The training center provided me with a bulky bulletproof vest and safety goggles. I’d been warned that the gumball-sized plastic pellets used to simulate return fire could sting, so I’d layered on the clothes for the assignment.
During the first scenario, I played the part of a police officer sent to investigate reports of a belligerent man threatening others. With the question of whether police should shoot a person who doesn’t have a gun in mind, I hesitated as he hoisted a large pipe wrench and came at me.
He lunged. The screen went dark.
“I’m dead, aren’t I?”
Vona confirmed that I was.
I drew my gun quicker during the next few scenarios, but still managed to fail. After being confronted with a man who came around the corner of a schoolroom with a shotgun, I shot so wildly that the lines and circles that showed where my bullets landed after the scene was over looked like a child’s follow-the-dots game drawn over the screen.
In one scene, a seemingly drugged-out man kept reaching into an open desk drawer. Gun drawn, I found myself trembling as he taunted me and moved his hands in and out of the desk. I didn’t shoot him when he pulled out a pair of scissors and stabbed at the air, but it was a close call.
I was killed quickly by a man who committed suicide inside a gym. When he pointed the gun at his own head I relaxed for some reason. I don’t think I was even aiming at him in the second that it took him to twist his wrist, shoot me, then take his own life.
Sometimes, I did shoot when I was supposed to. But when my bullets didn’t land where they needed to, the attackers kept coming, and I went down.
This is the reason police officers are trained to aim at bodily mass, usually the torso, Vona explained. The time it might take a cop to put a bullet in an attacker’s leg could be a fatal delay.
One of the most intense sessions involved a traffic stop on a dark road. I tried to train my weapon on the male driver, who got out of the car screaming profanities and waving a handgun. But I was distracted by the sound of a female passenger shouting inside the car. I feared she’d jump out with a gun too.
I did kill that gunman, but I also sprayed the woods behind him with bullets. Had anyone been there, they could have been shot, too.
I couldn’t believe how fast the bad guys moved in the scenes.
“That’s how these things happen. It’s instantaneous,” said Harry McCann, the county’s Director of Law Enforcement Training. “What you see in the movies is not real life.”
After a fatal police shooting, the officer involved is put on desk duty until the district attorney determines whether the shooting was legal.
According to the law, the use of deadly force is justified if the officer believes such force is needed to protect himself from serious bodily injury.
Juries considering deadly force as self-defense must be convinced that the defendant reasonably believed he was in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury before they acquit. The statute says a person must make an effort to retreat from danger before they resort to deadly force.
Police officers, however, aren’t held to that standard. The law states they are “not obliged to desist from their efforts to make an arrest” before shooting someone.
In other words, the law does not require police officers try to escape from the person’s attack before opening fire.
County detectives investigate all police-involved shootings in Bucks County. Henry said this process is given priority.
“Obviously, the most important thing is a complete and thorough investigation, but we do try to resolve these matters are quickly as possible,” she said.
It’s difficult to say how Bucks County’s police compare to other community’s in the use of deadly force. Although the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics keeps count of how many police officers are killed or assaulted in the line of duty, their Web site offers no information about how many civilians are killed in clashes with police.
Tod Burke is a professor of criminal justice at Virginia’s Radford University, and a former Maryland police officer. He said there’s no evidence cops are using deadly force more often in reaction to the many cop killings in the news.
“Police officers are made aware of other jurisdictional shooting via daily briefings. Of course, this serves as a very real reminder just how dangerous a police officer’s job is and the necessity for proper officer safety techniques,” Burke said.
Police officers are constantly reminded they can’t be lulled into a false sense of security, believing, for example, that since they’ve worked for years with being shot at, it will never happen to them, he said.
This is known as “Tombstone Courage” or the “John Wayne Syndrome,” Burke said.
The professor said Bucks County is doing the right thing by offering its law enforcement officers high-tech training.
“Deadly force remains a last resort, not the first in a police officer’s arsenal of responses to a crisis,” he said. “If officers are reacting to the upswing in violence, it is serving as a reminder about the need for officer safety and community needs.”
I emerged after my hour in the simulator with sweaty palms and a queasy stomach. Although I hadn’t expected to do as well as a trained law enforcement officer, I was humbled by how many potentially fatal mistakes I’d made.
The state requires all police officers to complete two full days of training each year. Using the simulator isn’t mandatory, but most departments take advantage of it, McCann said.
More than 3,000 law enforcement officers from five counties pass through the training center each year, participating in the 103 programs the facility offers. In the main hall of the center, there’s a large memorial to the 11 Bucks officers who’ve been killed in the line of duty.
This “Roll Call of Heroes,” is engraved with officers’ names and dates of death. Each fallen officer’s hat and uniform patch is displayed on a shelf above a plaque.
The memorial recently was updated to commemorate the death of Christopher Jones, a Middletown police officer killed during a traffic stop in January.
McCann said the memorial is located at the training center for a reason.
“This is a reminder of what can happen, every time a police officer answers a call.”
The main investigator in Hellertown resident Rhonda Smith’s murder case was named the local Pennsylvania state trooper of the year Friday.
Trooper Gregory Stumpo, who works out of the Dublin barracks, was honored during a morning ceremony at Troop M’s Bethlehem barracks. The troop also includes the Belfast, Fogelsville and Trevose barracks.
Two Quakertown residents who assisted in Smith’s case also were recognized. Doug Sylsberry and his 9-year-old son Garrett received Meritorious Citizenship Awards for finding and turning in the murder weapon in the case.
Springfield Township resident Mary Jane Fonder, 66, was convicted in October of first-degree murder in Smith’s fatal shooting. Authorities say Fonder was jealous of the attention Smith, 42, received from their pastor and fellow congregants at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Springfield, where the Jan. 23, 2008, shooting occurred.
Stumpo discredited Fonder’s alibi and her explanation of her gun’s disappearance, said Capt. D. Michelle Turk, the troop’s commanding officer. Stumpo also found gun residue in Fonder’s car and found references about the murder in her day planner, Turk said.
“That case was a very, very complicated case,” Turk said. “He was very tenacious.”
Stumpo said he was somewhat uncomfortable accepting the award, considering several troopers worked on the case. He especially credited his partner, Cpl. Robert Egan.
The case was more difficult than most and had unique circumstances, Stumpo said.
“It occurred in a church, which doesn’t happen that often,” he said. “We weren’t sure what happened at first — it took a lot of work.”
Stumpo also lauded the Sylsberrys, who found Fonder’s gun in Lake Nockamixon while fishing in March 2008.
“They could have easily kept the gun or thrown it back in the lake,” he said. “They did what’s right.”
The troop rarely hands out Meritorious Citizenship Awards, but the Sylsberrys are especially deserving, Turk said.
“They found a gun that was a key piece of evidence,” she said. “It was very critical.”
The Sylsberrys said they were surprised and honored to receive the awards. Garrett said he plans to hang it on the wall of his room, where he also has football and hockey awards.
“I was going to keep it on my dashboard in case I get pulled over,” Doug Sylsberry said jokingly.
The awards were part of the troop’s annual State Police Memorial Day ceremony. The event memorializes the 91 state troopers that have been killed in the line of duty in the force’s 104-year history.
There will be tears and softly spoken prayers when cops and neighbors join together in Port Richmond tomorrow to mark the first anniversary of Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski’s slaying.
The 12-year police veteran was just a few days shy of his 40th birthday when he confronted a trio of bank robbers at Almond and Schiller streets shortly after 11:30 a.m. last May 3.
One of the robbers, Howard Cain, shot Liczbinski at least five times with an SKS assault rifle after a fellow robber yelled “Blast him!” authorities have said.
Liczbinski, a married father of three, spoke his last words to a resident who cradled the fallen cop in his arms: “Tell my wife and kids I love them.”
Cain, 34, was shot dead by cops later that same day. His cohorts, Eric Floyd, 34, and Levon Warner, 40, await trial in Liczbinski’s death.
Officers from the 24th District, where Liczbinski worked, are expected to gather at Almond and Schiller about 2 p.m., Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said.
Liczbinski was the first of five cops who have died in the line of duty since Ramsey took over the department last year.
His death still weighs heavily on the 24th District, headquartered on Whitaker Avenue near Erie. The district lost another supervisor, Sgt. Timothy Simpson, six months after Liczbinski’s slaying.
“When you stop and think about him [Liczbinski] and the four that have been taken away since then, it’s very emotional,” Ramsey said last night.”It brings back very sad memories. You think of the pain his family has experienced. It’s a difficult period for everyone, including me.” *
What a clever way to eliminate street racing.
But it’s not what you think. Since 2007, Florida police officers participate in a program called ‘Beat the Heat’ that was created to take racing out of the streets and into the track. Once a month, officers will race any ‘civilian’ driver over the age of 18 for 25$ which is the cost for participating in the drag race. The races take place at the County Line Drag Way in Miami and according to officials, since the program began in 2007 the has been a drastic reduction in illegal street racing in the area.
“We used to have races in the warehouse district almost every Friday, Saturday night. They’ve completely stopped,” told Just News Officer Ron Bradley with the Davie Police.
Pierre Cazassus waits, wondering what challenges lie ahead. He’s heard from his fellow cops how incredibly tough the Miami SWAT School is. He knows he must prove to the current SWAT Team members that he is ready to be one of them.
They yell at him and the dozen other recruits, “Get on your backs! Get on your backs!”For now, each SWAT student is only a number. And what seems like verbal abuse in the midst of heavy physical training is meant to prepare them to handle intense pressure while searching a building, in a hostage situation, or in a gunfight.
Pierre is focused, but his mind wanders to his friend and fellow officer Josue Hererra. They’ve been cops together from the very beginning, and they tried out for SWAT School together. Josue didn’t make it.
Pierre says, “I really needed him to be here.”
Now Pierre will rely on his fellow SWAT trainees. Some of the guys are Miami cops like him, others are here from Brazil for the special training the SWAT school offers, and others are here to qualify to join Hialeah’s SWAT Team, like Carlos Garcia.
“They say when cops need help they call SWAT,” said Garcia. “That’s why I want to be there.”
Carlos knows just how grueling the three week school will be. Extreme dehydration knocked him out of Miami-Dade County’s SWAT School last year.
“After the first week I went out medically for kidney failure and I was hospitalized after that.”
Despite that hellish experience he’s back for more and he’ll get it. Within the first three hours of training he gets dizzy, but he recovers.
The recruits must show they have physical strength, the ability to listen to the instructors without deflating emotionally, and they must show they can push forward, despite screaming muscles and exhaustion.
That drive put one of the Miami recruits in the hospital for a few days with dehydration and muscle failure.
The men must also overcome basic fears. They breathe in tear gas, they feel the shock of the Tasers they carry, and they get over their fear of heights, and of drowning.
Carlos says, “It’s rough, it’s rough, it takes a lot of heart to be here.”
They also learn tactics and skills, like casting off the side of a speeding boat, making a formation and sneaking onto shore without being seen.
Things start looking up for the trainees after week two. Trainers are finally calling them by their names and even have a little fun with the recruits, sitting on them while they do push-ups, and making crass jokes–a little comic relief to help the recruits keep going, because in this school you can break at any moment.
But Pierre is determined to move forward. “I don’t think I could live with myself if I would drop now.”
Carlos plans to finish this time. “I’ve come this far, it makes me want it more.”
Local law enforcement leaders and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn on Friday officially introduced the Longview Special Weapons and Tactics Team’s new armor-plated vehicle.
Gregg County commissioners in December approved purchasing the vehicle with a $275,000 Homeland Security grant from Massachusetts-based Lenco Armored Vehicle. The vehicle arrived April 3. It is the team’s first armor-plated, bullet-proof vehicle. The team will keep its previous vehicle, a van, and use it in other law enforcement situations.
Sgt. Chad Lemaire said the bullet-proof vehicle, which can seat about 10 fully-suited officers, improves safety for law enforcement officers and potential victims or hostages. He said they could drive much closer to a dangerous situation and potentially resolve it more quickly.
“It’s going to change our tactics completely,” Lemaire said.
The vehicle will be a regional tool, officials said. The team can take it anywhere in the 14-county region of the East Texas Council of Governments, Lemaire said.
Gregg County Sheriff Maxey Cerliano said the 26-member team has used the vehicle at least eight times since its arrival. He said the vehicle is an important tool to fight crime safely.
“That’s what this is all about,” Cerliano said. “It’s about public safety.”
Cornyn said his office and the federal government have worked to provide security resources to communities that might not be able to afford the items on their own. He said the events of Sept. 11 forced the federal government to realize what local governments need to stay safe, but he also said the equipment is not the most important aspect of community protection.
“We can buy the equipment, but we have to have first-class first responders to make it work,” Cornyn said.
More than 100 uniformed members of the Montgomery County law enforcement community Friday stood at attention, shoulder to shoulder, to honor their fallen comrades.
Or fallen heroes as one speaker after another referred to them during the county’s annual ceremony, complete with the wail of bagpipes, to honor all those who were killed or died in the line of duty.
But many of the speakers’ remarks also were directed at the living heroes.
“The police officers who serve our community are a constant but often unseen presence in our daily lives, providing protection and security,” county President Judge Richard J. Hodgson told a crowd of more than 80 members of the public including the families of some of the law enforcement officers who died on duty as well as members of the county’s legal community and government and passers-by.
Police enforce laws not of their own making and, even after setbacks in court, press on with pride and distinction, said the county’s top judge.
“Often the subject of ridicule and criticism by a fickle and sometimes unforgiving public – the very same public they risk their lives to protect – the police persevere,” said Hodgson. “Even on one of those tragic days when one of their own falls in the line of duty, they pause, mourn and return to their posts.”
Hodgson’s remarks were made as he stood next to the police memorial monument outside the county courthouse.
That monument holds the names of 26 Montgomery County law enforcement officers who were killed or died while on duty. No new name has been placed on that monument since 2004.
That is not because police work is any less dangerous or stressful, said county District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman.
She said that she recently had the opportunity to award county Medals of Valor to Abington Police Officers Robert Davis, Vince DiAntonio and Shawn Nisbet for their “outstanding act of bravery” and “exemplary performance” displayed Dec. 22 when a domestic incident flared into a gun battle. The three officers responded to a call reporting that a man had fired shots at his ex-wife, had threatened to kill her, threatened to kill the children and threatened to kill any police officer who responded, said Ferman.
“They didn’t run away, they ran to the threat, they faced the danger and risked their lives to keep others safe,” said Ferman, noting that Davis suffered a gunshot wound to the thigh in the subsequent gun battle.
And at the conclusion of the gun fight, the police took care of the wounded suspect who just minutes before had tried to take their lives, said Ferman.
“That is the kind of courage, the kind of heroism, the kind of professionalism, the kind of commitment and the kind of dedication we see here every day in Montgomery County,” said Ferman.
Not forgotten during the ceremony were the families of law enforcement officers.
When the officers leave every day to do their jobs, the families have to worry “because their jobs are so dangerous,” said Hoeffel.
And some families make the ultimate sacrifice, losing a loved one who is killed or dies while protecting the community, said Hoeffel.
“We are so blessed with the dedication and sacrifice of our police officers and their families,” said Hoeffel.
The rain began to fall softly as the honor guard made up of units from more than 25 departments across the state made its way into formation.
It started to fall harder as the high school choir sang an a cappella version of “The Star Spangled Banner” and drenched the members of the honor guard as they stood at attention.
Loved ones and fellow emergency personnel gathered at the Fallen Heroes Day ceremony Friday honoring nine police officers and emergency personnel who died in the line of duty.
The choir and other singers performed solemn numbers beneath the white tent, where the crowd listened to speakers talk about the dedication of emergency responders.
Several of those being remembered had Carroll County ties. Sgt. Richard Findley, of the Prince George’s County Police Department, lived in New Windsor. Tfc. Mickey Lippy, of the Maryland State Police, lived in Westminster. Lt. Michael Howe, of the Baltimore County Police Department, lived in Manchester.
Maryland State Police pilot Stephen Bunker, Waldorf volunteer fire company EMT Tonya Mallard, Baltimore County fire company paramedic and firefighter Brian Neville, Frederick City Police Department officer Richard Bremer, FBI special agent Samuel Hicks and Baltimore County Fire Department firefighter Thomas Rice were also remembered at the ceremony at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium.
Mickey Lippy’s sister Diana said having him remembered at the ceremony was an honor but also difficult. Things have settled down a bit after Lippy’s death in September, but Friday’s service brought back painful emotions, she said.
Seeing the outpouring of police and other emergency personnel reminded her of how loved and honored her brother was and what a brotherhood law enforcement is, Lippy said.
Bruce Lippy said he knows the ceremony was to memorialize his son, but it reminded him that Mickey is gone.
“As much of an honor as it is, it’s very hard to do,” he said.
Former Ravens kicker Matt Stover told the crowd that while professional athletes should be role models, they’re not heroes like police officers and fire fighters are.
Afterward, Stover said it was a privilege and an honor to speak at the ceremony.
Gov. Martin O’Malley, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and other officials presented the families of the fallen heroes with a bronze replica of the Fallen Heroes Memorial and a resolution from the General Assembly.
The sight of the honor guard standing resolutely in the rain Friday symbolized the dedication of police, fire and emergency personnel such as the ones being remembered, Brown said.
“It is because of those we honor today that we are able to say without reservation that we are a great state and great country,” Brown said.
O’Malley and Brown held umbrellas in the rain for children of the men and women being remembered as they laid a wreath at the memorial.
As the ceremony came to an end, bagpipes played “Amazing Grace,” a 21-gun salute sounded and taps was played by a Baltimore County Police Department detective.
A formation of helicopters from the Baltimore Police Department and Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Howard and Prince George’s County police departments flew over the tent. They were trailed by a state police helicopter, which dipped its nose in tribute as it passed over the memorial.
And as the crowd began to leave and workers began to stack the chairs inside the tent, the rain stopped and the sun began to shine.
Alert thinking and decisive action helped two Hunterdon County sheriff’s officers catch a man wanted by State Police for allegedly breaking into a neighbor’s Union Township home and assaulting a woman resident. The men’s effort earned them commendations from Sheriff Deborah Trout. Sheriff’s Officers John Sadusky and Lucas Schwab heard a Feb. 5 police radio alert concerning State Police efforts to locate the man while traveling through the county on civil process duty.
The suspect, Brian Blair, allegedly knocked the woman to the floor of her Union Hill condo on Sam Bonnell Drive around 1:30 p.m., kicked her and cut her hands and arms. In the police alert, he was reported as possibly armed with a box cutter.
Driving on Route 22 in Readington Township, the officers spotted a silver Ford van matching the radio description of Mr. Blair’s vehicle coming from the opposite direction.
They U-turned, pursued him and initiated a felony vehicle stop, which is standard operating procedure when approaching a suspect considered dangerous. Officers Sadusky and Schwab left their patrol vehicle and, with guns drawn, ordered Mr. Blair out of his van.
Police officers arrived at the scene, including Clinton Township Police Sgt. Thomas DeRosa, who handcuffed the suspect with Officer Schwab’s assistance. State troopers took custody of Mr. Blair and charged him with burglary, aggravated assault with a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and criminal mischief.
In recognizing her officers’ effort, Sheriff Trout said they “took immediate and decisive action, identified and pursued a wanted vehicle, and exhibited the highest level of professionalism and courage.”
After giving statements to the State Police at the Perryville barracks, Mr. Blair was taken to the county jail with bail set at $100,000. According to sheriff’s officers, he was then taken to the Ann Klein psychiatric hospital in Trenton for treatment.
A grand jury recently returned an indictment charging Mr. Blair with attempted murder, bias intimidation, aggravated assault, two counts of burglary, two counts of unlawful weapon possession and two counts of criminal mischief.