Chief Praises Officers’ Actions in Safely Arresting Hotel Gunman

October 19, 2020

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–The South Brunswick Police Department announced the successful resolution to a gunman at an area hotel on Friday. Chief Raymond Hayducka said, “So often you only hear of these cases when officers are forced into a deadly situation. Here officers were confronted by a gunman who threatened to harm others and was acting out. Officers used de-escalation techniques and time to safely take him into custody. This is a credit to the officers and their training.” 

The incident unfolded just after 2 pm at the Hotel Vicenza at 3793 Route 1. Officers arrived and learned that Louis Smith age 46, a guest at the hotel, had an argument with a staff member, and pulled out a handgun. Police set up a perimeter and attempted to make contact and de-escalate the situation. As police attempted to speak with Smith, he repeatedly paced back and forth between the front breezeway and rear balcony of his second-floor room. Smith kept yelling profanities at unoccupied cars in the parking lot. At one point, Smith began using his cellphone to videotape officers while blowing kisses. A team of officers, Sergeant Anthony Pisano, Detective Rick Delucia, PFC Mike Leung, Officer Ryan Bartunek, Officer Kent English, and Officer Jason Stonkus approached Smith on the second floor. Smith retreated and ran back into his room, locking the door. Officers negotiated for thirty minutes trying to get Smith to speak with them. Smith’s erratic behavior continued with him yelling about diabetes and who he was going to vote for. Officers then made attempts to contact family members and were able to speak to a sister. At 4:45 pm Smith who was profusely sweating opened the door briefly and Detective Delucia and Officer English grabbed him from the room and pulled him into the breezeway. Smith was placed under arrest and transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick for evaluation.

Detectives obtained a telephonic search warrant to search the room. A search of the room located a Taurus 9MM handgun, 2 fully loaded magazines, 27 ounces of marijuana, a pair of black gloves, a black ski mask, ziplock bags, and a scale. Smith has been charged with aggravated assault with a firearm, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, terroristic threats, and distribution of CDS. 

On Friday, while Smith was awaiting evaluation in the emergency room of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, two South Brunswick officers were guarding him. Smith began to act up, even while cuffed to his hospital bed. At one point, he threw urine at the hospital staff. The officers moved in and Smith spit in their faces. Smith has been charged with two additional counts of aggravated assault for spitting on the officers. Both officers required medical treatment. As of Monday afternoon, Smith remains in the emergency room at the hospital with two South Brunswick officers guarding him until he can be moved to a secure facility.

Chief Hayducka added, “Too many people don’t realize the risks and dangers officers are willing to take to keep their communities safe. This group of officers showed the best of who we are.”