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'Called Out To Jesus': Police Chase Assault Suspect Across Busy Route 4 (UPDATE)

Antonio Joshua Fermin
Antonio Joshua Fermin Photo Credit: BACKGROUND: Boyd A. Loving (file photo) / INSET: BCJ

UPDATE: A man under the influence of some type of drug assaulted two people at a popular River Edge liquor store, then caused a scene when he ran into traffic on busy Route 4, authorities said.

Westbound drivers stopped immediately as police chased Antonio Joshua Fermin, 23, across the highway following the morning incident at Total Wine & More.

Fermin "had a distant stare and repeatedly called out to Jesus as he flailed his arms and legs wanting to get away," said River Edge Police Chief Michael Walker, who was on the Martin Luther King Day call. "He was completely irrational the entire time.    

"I'm just glad no one got hit," the chief said.

The first responders, Sgt. Marc Abate and Officer Gabriel Colucci, "attempted to deescalate Fermin's irrational actions" when they arrived at the liquor store shortly before 10:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16, Walker said.

"However he continued to be irrational and ran from them, first crossing the westbound lanes of Route 4," he said.

Bergen County Regional SWAT Officers Samuel Gerias Daniel Solares happened to be in the area and assisted as the River Edge officers grabbed Fermin at the center divider, the chief said.

Fermin broke free, however, then climbed over the median and dashed across the eastbound lanes -- somehow without being struck, he noted.

Officers caught up to Fermin on Romaine Court in Hackensack and subdued him after a struggle, Walker said.

Fermin remained in custody at Bergen New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus on Tuesday. He's charged with two counts of simple assault, as well as resisting arrest.

The two civilian victims weren't seriously injured.

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