An “emotionally disturbed” man was safely taken into custody this evening after a standoff in a shopping center in Toms River that lasted for over an hour, police said.
According to Toms River Police Department spokesman Ralph Stocco, the Seaside Heights Police Department issued an alert today that an emotionally disturbed man may be traveling through Toms River.
At 8:30 p.m., Toms River Police Officer Shan Ruiz spotted the 39-year-old man in question traveling on Route 37 in a GMC Acadia, Stocco said.
Ofc. Ruiz activated his emergency lights, but the man failed to stop, continuing on Route 37 for a short distance before pulling into the ShopRite parking lot at 2 Route 37 West, the spokesman added.
“The man refused to exit his car and was observed to be in a highly agitated state,” Stocco said. “The man, who has been recently residing in Seaside Heights, refused to exit his vehicle, which was now parked near the businesses.”
At that point, police asked the businesses to keep all occupants inside “out of an abundance of caution and a high concern for the safety of the man, the officers, and anyone in the vicinity,” the spokesman said.
“For over an hour the officers maintained a dialogue with the man, and at 9:46 p.m. he was taken into custody,” Stocco said.
The man is currently under evaluation at a local hospital.
“In addition to the Toms River police officers on the scene, the Seaside Heights Police Department was directly involved in bringing this situation to a safe conclusion,” the spokesman said.
“The police dispatchers of both departments should also be commended for the behind the scenes support that was given. We also want to thank all of the businesses employees and patrons for the patience and cooperation they gave us,” he added.