In what has been described as an apparent attempt of “suicide by cop,” Toms River officers shot and critically wounded a man who pointed a television remote at them, mimicking a firearm.
The man, whose name has not been publicly released, called 911 on himself at about 6:44 p.m. Sunday, a statement from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office said.
The caller reported that there were three suspicious males, one armed with a gun, in the area of Sand Creek Lane in the Silverton section of Toms River. Members of the Toms River Police Department responded to the area of Sand Creek Lane and Christian Court, and upon their arrival, encountered a white male walking in the area, the statement said. A preliminary investigation has revealed that upon encountering the officers, the man had his right hand hidden behind his back and began walking towards the officers.
“The officers gave repeated loud commands to the subject, ordering him to show them his hands and to put his hands in the air,” the statement said.
The man ignored the officers’ repeated commands, then “quickly removed his right hand from behind his back and pointed a black object at the officers.”
The two initial responding officers, whose names were not divulged, fired a total of nine rounds, striking the man twice. The officers immediately rendered first aid to the man, who was subsequently transported to an area hospital where he was listed in critical but stable condition Monday. He was expected to survive.
An investigation into the incident has uncovered the revelation that the man made a 911 call to Toms River police so they would respond. The black object that he was hiding behind his back and pointed at the officers was found to be a black television remote control that he took from a motel where he had been staying.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that the subject removed the black television remote from his room at the area motel and ultimately utilized the remote control to feign the presence of a deadly weapon, during his confrontation with the officers,” the statement said.
The investigation into the incident is being led by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, with assistance from the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department CSI Unit, with the “full cooperation” of the Toms River Police Department. The names of the officers and the man who was shot may be released at a later time, officials said.
Anyone who has any information is being asked to contact Detective Raymond Gardner or Detective Lindsay Woodfield of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-929-2027.