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SWAT STANDOFF: Hackensack Man, 80, Armed With Rifle Subdued

Bergen County Regional SWAT Team
Bergen County Regional SWAT Team Photo Credit: Boyd A. Loving for DAILY VOICE

UPDATE: An hours-long standoff with an 80-year-old Hackensack man armed with a rifle ended just after midnight Friday when a SWAT team burst into his apartment and took him into custody.

In a tragic twist, a fellow building resident who had terminal cancer died during the incident, forcing the Bergen County Medical Examiner to wait to remove the body until the situation was resolved.

It began after an out-of-state family member called and said an elderly tenant  at Harry Berkie Gardens had "threatened to shoot anyone who came to his apartment," Capt. Darren DeWitt said.

Three city officers went to the man's upper-floor unit at the 10-story public housing complex on Kansas Street before 6:30 p.m. to make sure he was OK.

"He slightly opened the door and pointed a rifle at them," DeWitt said. "They backed out and contacted SWAT." 

A few apartments around the upper-floor unit where the standoff occurred were evacuated, with tenants gathering in the community center, the captain said.

Tenants at Harry Berkie are 62 and older or disabled.

The standoff continued into the night, as members of the Bergen County Regional SWAT team hoped he could be talked out.

They finally forced their way in at 12:15 a.m. and secured the man without incident, DeWitt said.

Police charged him aggravated assault with a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and sent him to Bergen New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus for a psychological evaluation, the captain said.

The body of the deceased resident was then removed.

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