A cooperative effort between Seaside Heights and Toms River police led to the peaceful ending of a standoff with a person described as “emotionally disturbed” Monday night.
The incident led to the lockdown of the Shop Rite supermarket on Route 37 in Toms River as well as several surrounding businesses.
According to Toms River Police spokesman Ralph Stocco, Seaside Heights police put out an alert to their counterparts in Toms River regarding an emotionally disturbed man who was thought to have been traveling into Toms River. At 8:30 p.m., Stocco said, Toms River Officer Shan Ruiz located the 39-year-old man, whose name was not released, traveling on Route 37 in a GMC Acadia.
The officer activated his emergency lights but the man did not stop his vehicle, Stocco said. He continued on Route 37 for a short distance and eventually pulled into the Shop Rite shopping center.
“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. Out of an abundance of caution and a “high concern for the safety of the man, the officers, and anyone in the vicinity,” all businesses were asked to keep everyone inside.
For over an hour the officers maintained a dialogue with the man and at 9:46 p.m., he was taken into custody. He is being evaluated at a local hospital, said Stocco.
Stocco credited both police departments for bringing the situation to a peaceful ending.
“The police dispatchers of both departments should also be commended for the behind the scenes support that was given,” he said. “We also want to thank all of the businesses employees and patrons for the patience and cooperation they gave us.”