‘Did what I had to do,’ caretaker in reported shooting in Mahwah says

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: “I did what I had to do,” the caretaker of a Cub Scout campground told CLIFFVIEW PILOT after claiming he shot one of two men who accosted him in his Mahwah cabin.

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Investigators found no shell casings, blood nor other signs that support the claim of a caretaker at a Cub Scout Camp in Mahwah that he shot two .357-caliber bullets into one of two men who he said accosted him in his cabin, law enforcement sources told CLIFFVIEW PILOT. READ MORE….

“I have a slight concussion, I’m a little dizzy. I was unconscious for awhile,”  John Mazanec, 55, told CLIFFVIEW PILOT in an exclusive interview this morning. “
I have eight stitches in my head and lacerations on my hand.”

Mazanec, who was released from The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood after being treated last night, said he was “not at liberty” to discuss details of the incident.

He explained that he didn’t want to cause problems for his employer, Northern New Jersey Council, Boy Scouts of America, which

employs him to do landscaping and other chores at Camp Yaw Paw, in the Ramapo Mountains just off Route 202.

However, Mazanec emphasized: “I did what I had to do.”

Investigators last night told CLIFFVIEW PILOT they found no evidence supporting Mazanec’s claim that he fired two warning shots from his .357-caliber handgun before shooting one of two men in the chest after they followed him to his cabin and forced their way in.

“His story changed three times. There was no indication that anybody was hit,” a high-ranking law enforcement source told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.

Four spent casings were found in the revolver, but there’s no way to determine when the rounds were fired, a separate source confirmed this morning.

“They could have been fired into a tree,” he told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.

Police said Mazanec initially told them that his assailants forced their way into the cabin around 9 o’clock last night after he ordered them to leave the area for riding an ATV. One of them whacked him in the head with something, he said.

They also said he apparently was intoxicated when he initially told police he fired two shots from his .357 handgun into the ground as a warning and then two into the chest of one of the men, a police source with direct knowledge of the case


Both intruders then took off on an ATV, he told police.

“No witnesses heard any ATV or anything like that, and there are no blood droppings anywhere,” a second high-ranking law enforcement source with direct of the case told CLIFFVIEW PILOT. “The story was shaky from the start. It didn’t add up.”

“We have the gun,” the first source said. “It’ll be tested.”

The Bergen County Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation processed the scene for Mahwah police, who are handling the investigation.

Set in the heart of the Ramapo Mountains, Camp Yaw Paw is for Cub Scouts in the fifth grade and under.

Mazanec was born and raised in Rockleigh and more recently lived in Northvale. Last year, the Northern New Jersey Council appointed him caretaker at the camp.

Mazanec credited Mahwah police, saying: “I think they handled the situation remarkably well.”

For now, he told CLIFFVIEW PILOT, he’s “going to stay away for awhile until the media attention dies down.”

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