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Spear-Carrying South Jersey Man, With Bear Repellent, Subdued By Taser, Police Say

Gloucester Township police Photo Credit: Facebook/ Gloucester Township PD
Gloucester police officers at a recent training exercise. Photo Credit: Facebook/ Gloucester Twp. PD

Police tasered a man who was carrying bear repellent while swinging a large spear at motorists, Camden County authorities said.

Officers subdued the suspect, who allegedly was waving the metal pole and pepper spray, just before sunrise on Saturday, Gloucester Township police said.

Police officers ultimately tasered the "man in crisis" when he refused to comply, according to a statement posted on Facebook.

Township resident Robert Anastasi, 54, is accused of screaming at vehicles along Sicklerville Road, police said. 

Several patrol cars were used to block the man from traffic before channeling him into Villari’s Restaurant parking lot, police said.

Anastasi continued to ramble, curse at and threaten the officers "by raising the spear above his shoulder as if he was going to throw it at them," police said in a statement.

When the suspect became more enraged, an officer used a taser to temporarily subdue him, police said.

Anastasi was able to walk to a nearby ambulance, according to police,  and was taken to an area hospital to be evaluated and treated.

Police later said that a sharpened knife blade was attached to the end of the spear and that the repellent was "a high concentration bear pepper spray."

Gloucester Police Chief David Harkins said the patrol officers "demonstrated a tremendous amount of restraint."

"They remained calm and used the techniques and tactics that we train on," Harkins said. "This incident could have ended in tragedy for the suspect or the officers."

Anastasi was charged on a summons with several weapons offenses and for carrying an unlawful chemical substance, police said.

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