A commuter accused of pulling a knife on an NJ Transit conductor in Glen Rock who asked him to wear a mask was seized following an hour-long standoff at an acquaintance's home, police said.
Keith Toussaint, 49, of the Bronx was charged with aggravated assault with a weapon under a state law that carries more severe penalties because the alleged victim is a front-line transportation worker.
The Port Jervis Line conductor told Glen Rock police who responded to the borough train station shortly before 10:30 a.m. that Touissant had "become confrontational" and allegedly threatened her with a knife when she asked him to wear a mask, Police Chief Dean Ackermann said.
Toussaint then ran to the home of an acquaintance on Central Avenue and refused to come out, Ackermann said.
Officers negotiated with Toussaint for about an hour before he surrendered peacefully, the chief said. They then turned him over to NJ Transit Police.
Ackermann cited the "explementary work" by Glen Rock, Ridgewood and NJ Transit officer in "de-escalating the situation and taking an armed (suspect) into custody without incident."
Defendants charged with assaults on conductors and bus operators face enhanced penalties of up to five years in prison and as much as $15,000 in fines.
"The safety and security of our employees and customers are paramount," NJ Transit Chief Communications Officer Nancy Snyder said. "We take all allegations of our employees being assaulted seriously.
"These actions will not be tolerated, and individuals who contemplate doing harm to our employees will be apprehended and aggressively prosecuted," Snyder said.
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