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ARMED MAN SURRENDERS AFTER STANDOFF

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A three-hour standoff between Middletown police and a shotgun-holding man in a pickup truck ended peacefully last night, the Asbury Park Press reports today.

The tense episode, which triggered police backups from Holmdel and Belmar, centered on a vehicle parked in the driveway of a Danemar Drive home, in the northern Fairview section, where the apparently despondent man resided. His name does not appear in the Press account, nor does the exact address of the house. The Star-Ledger says the police did not release his name.

The Ledger also reports that one shot was fired early on in the standoff; the Press account online has no mention of this.

From the Press:

[Next-door neighbor Cathy] Lynch said she was inside her home when she noticed that her neighbor’s truck had been sitting in the driveway for some time with the ignition on. She thought he was having a medical issue, so she went outside to offer help.

But when she approached his vehicle, she saw a gun sitting on his lap.

“I wasn’t even thinking about the gun, I just kept saying “Don’t do it. Don’t do it,’ ” she recalled Tuesday around 9 p.m. while standing on the corner of Danemar Drive and Chapel Hill Road. She was waiting to go back to her home, which she had left unlocked with a steak on the grill. “I told him to shut the car off and get out. But he just told me to go back in the house.”

Sgt. Richard Deickmann, who spoke to the man via a landline telephone that had been delivered to the truck, persuaded him to release his shotgun at at about 9:15p, the story says.

In the interim, residents of about a dozen homes were evacuated as a precaution, the Press reports. Police Chief Robert Oches said that police never lost control of the situation.

From the Ledger:

The township police SWAT team was called in, as was the Monmouth County Emergency Response Team, the chief said. More than 40 police officers, working in shifts, responded to the scene.

Back to the Press:

Oches declined to discuss exactly what drove the man to take a gun into his truck, but said that he was going through some personal issues.

Next-door neighbor Catherine Lynch said the man had struggled for years with medical problems, which included chronic knee pain and throat problems. But she never thought he would try to take his own life, or try to do so by creating such a public spectacle.

“It’s such a nice family that’s had a lot of tragedy,” she said. “He has a 2-year-old grandson that is the love of his life. I never thought he would try to do something like this.”

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