Man in Custody After Standoff in Bernardsville
SWAT team members negotiated with man who had barricaded himself in Bernardsville home.
A man who reportedly barricaded himself in a Bernardsville home was in custody late Thursday night following a more than three-hour standoff with police and Somerset County SWAT team members, police said.
Bernardsville Police Chief Kevin Valentine said authorities had a man in custody Thursday night at about 11 p.m. The man's identity was not immediately released.
"We have one suspect in custody," Valentine said from police headquarters. "There is no cause for alarm—the citizens are secure."
While the man was reportedly barricaded in the Anderson Hill Road home, area residents were evacuated. They returned to their homes and traffic began flowing again late Thursday night on the main road between Bernardsville and Mendham Township.
The standoff began after police received a report of the man barricaded in the home at about 6:40 p.m., the chief said.
A neighbor standing further down Anderson Hill Road said he had heard authorities say that the man allegedly barricaded inside the home had been served with papers for non-payment of child support.
The report brought in members of the Somerset County SWAT team soon afterward, along with other law enforcement agencies, including the Somerset County sheriff's department. At about 8:30 p.m., Bernardsville Police Sgt. Brian Testa said it was still unknown whether someone was possibly being held by the man in a hostage situation.
Right at about 10 p.m., authorities began clearing the scene and an officer from the Bernards Township Police Department, one of a number of police departments that provided backup, told bystanders that those at the home where the suspect was taken into custody were "wrapping things up." A few minutes later, residents who had been evacuated from the area were allowed to begin returning to their homes.
Authorities would not say on Thursday night if there had been anyone else in the house with the man.
Testa said earlier that Anderson Hill Road residents between Seney Drive and Old Army Road had been evacuated as SWAT team members negotiated with the man.
Testa said police were at the scene first. As SWAT team and other authorities arrived, Anderson Hill Road was blocked off north of the intersection with Old Army Road up to Seney Drive. Testa said other residents were evacuated from the Elmer Avenue area.
Police directed a crowd gathering at the intersection to move further back during the standoff.
The evacuated residents were advised to go to the Bernardsville Library at 1 Anderson Hill Road. The library had been asked to remain open until the neighbors were allowed to return to their homes.
Librarian Pat Kennedy-Grant said the library staff—trained as part of the borough's Certified Emergency Response Team—had received a phone call from Police Chief Kevin Valentine, asking that the library remain open for evacuated residents, and fulfill the CERT role.
Shortly after about 8:30 p.m., she said six people had checked into the library and had left.
A spokesman for the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office said he could not immediately release details regarding the incident.
Valentine said the prosecutor's office would be responsible for releasing further information on Friday morning.