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Barricaded Ridgewood man with gun spoke to priest of Columbine, asked if he was prepared to die, sources say

Photo Credit: Boyd A. Loving
Photo Credit: Boyd A. Loving
Photo Credit: Boyd A. Loving

PHOTOS: Boyd A. Loving

CVP EXCLUSIVE REPORT: A suicidal man who briefly barricaded himself in his Ridgewood garden apartment this afternoon told a priest that he had a gun and a bomb — and made references to Columbine, a law enforcement source told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.

Richard Park, 22, went to a Palisades Park church earlier today and made “some disturbing and alarming statements” to the pastor there, Palisades Park Police Chief Benjamin Ramos told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this afternoon.

The pastor and some of his congregants then went to police headquarters seeking protection, he said.

“The pastor was so frightened, he was prepared to cancel services tomorrow,” the chief said.

Ramos refused to disclose the nature of the comments, but another law enforcement source said Park made “troubling” references to the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado and asked the priest whether he was “prepared to die.”

Palisades Park police called their Ridgewood colleagues to conduct a welfare check at Park’s apartment in the Windsor Gardens complex on South Maple Avenue off Spring Street.

The Bergen Community College dropout denied entry to officers who were unsure whether he had any weapons when they arrived around noon, Ridgewood Police Chief John Ward told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.

A Bergen County Regional SWAT team with hostage negotiators responded along with a host of local police officers.

Park at first wouldn’t give his correct name, one of the responders said, but negotiators kept talking with him after the complex was evacuated.

Officers quickly grabbed him when Park eventually peered out his door around 1:10 p.m. He was taken to Bergen Regional Medical Center in Paramus, Ward said..

The chief confirmed that a firearm was found in the apartment and that detectives were obtaining a search warrant this afternoon.

Authorities were charging Park with offenses that include interfering with a governmental function and disorderly conduct, he said.


PHOTOS: Boyd A. Loving



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