Day: March 7, 2022

Unable to Escape Apartment Fire, Father Drops Son to First Responders Before Jumping Out of Window to Safety

Body camera video from sergeant shows the moment firefighters and police yell “drop the baby” to the Dad in the fire filled apartment.

March 7, 2022

SOUTH BRUNSWICK TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–South Brunswick Police reported that at 8:17 a.m. on Monday March 7, 2022 the Monmouth Junction Fire Department was dispatched to Building 1 in the South Ridge Woods apartment complex for a reported structure fire. Within minutes, multiple 9-1-1 calls were received reporting a working fire. Firefighters and police officers arrived to find heavy fire in the rear of the building coming from the second and third floor balconies and starting to spread up the outside of the building into the attic space. Building residents were reporting people still inside the 24-unit building, with the common hallway rapidly filling with smoke. Within minutes, a father and son appeared at a second floor window, unable to escape their apartment. The father broke out the window and dropped his son to first responders below, before jumping out the window himself.
Firefighters entered the building to perform primary searches but were forced to exit due to the heavy fire conditions in the rear of the building. The rapidly spreading fire caused the third floor rear balcony and a section of the roof to collapse. Master streams from three aerial fire trucks were used to extinguish the fire.
“This was a total team effort to extinguish this fire and ensure all occupants were able to escape,” according to Monmouth Junction Fire Chief Scott Smith. “We were faced with extremely heavy fire conditions immediately on arrival, along with reports of people still inside. Fortunately, all of the occupants were able to escape the fire. If this fire was earlier in the morning when people may have still been asleep, the outcome could have easily been tragic.”
Approximately 50 firefighters from Monmouth Junction, Kingston, Kendall Park, Plainsboro, Jamesburg, Monroe, Brookview and North Brunswick #2 responded to the 3-alarm blaze. Firefighters from Old Bridge, Montgomery and Griggstown covered the South Brunswick fire stations during the incident.
The fire is under investigation by the South Brunswick Township Fire Safety Bureau. The building is currently uninhabitable until a determination can be made as to whether any of the apartments can be re-occupied. The Red Cross responded to assist those residents displaced by the fire.

Trenton Man Sentenced to 9 Years for Illegal Possession of a Weapon

March 7, 2022

TRENTON, N.J. – A Mercer County, New Jersey, man with prior felony convictions was sentenced to 108 months in prison for unlawfully possessing a firearm and ammunition, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

Omar Kennedy, 40, of Trenton, previously pleaded guilty by before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson to an indictment charging him with one count of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon. Judge Thompson imposed the sentence on March 4, 2022.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

On May 23, 2019, the Trenton Police Department was called to a residence in Trenton, New Jersey on the report of a domestic disturbance. When officers arrived, the female resident reported that Kennedy pointed a firearm at her and threatened to shoot and kill her. While law enforcement officers were at the location, Kennedy phoned the female victim and repeated his threat to shoot her. Officers located Kennedy in the immediate area of the home, and he was found in possession of a firearm loaded with eight rounds of ammunition. At the time of his arrest, Kennedy was on New Jersey parole in relation to a conviction for aggravated assault.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Trenton Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey L. Matthews, Newark Field Division; officers with the Trenton Police Department, under the direction of Director Steve E. Wilson; and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri, with the investigation leading to the sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle S. Gasparian of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton.


Defense counsel: Andrea Bergman Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton

Former Long Branch Police Officer Sentenced to 10-Years for Home Meth Lab

March 7, 2022

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)A former member of the Long Branch Police Department has been sentenced to 10 years in state prison for manufacturing methamphetamine at his home last year, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Monday.

Christopher Walls, 50, was sentenced Friday by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Jill G. O’Malley, having previously pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree Causing a Risk of Widespread Injury and third-degree Manufacturing a Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS). The term includes a two-year period of parole ineligibility, and as part of the plea, Walls also permanently forfeited public office, as well as his firearms and firearms ID card.

Police were called to Walls’s home on the 300 block of West End Avenue on May 15, 2021for a report of a domestic disturbance. While officers were on scene, another resident in the home alleged that Walls was involved in suspicious narcotics activity. The New Jersey State Police (NJSP) Hazmat Unit responded to the scene and located materials, chemicals, and instruments consistent with a methamphetamine laboratory in both the basement of the residence and in a shed on the property. 

The Unit confirmed that Walls was in possession of ingredients necessary to manufacture methamphetamine, and found meth residue in chemistry-related glassware on site. A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office’s Professional Responsibility and Narcotics Units and the Long Branch Police Department revealed that Walls had also been in possession of books related to making methamphetamine, explosives, and poison.

Additionally, a large unsecured gun safe was located in the home, and was found to be accessible to a child living there. Inside the safe were two long guns, four handguns, eight high-capacity magazines, and a large quantity of ammunition.

“In manufacturing illegal narcotics out of his home, Officer Walls threatened the safety and security of the very community he swore an oath to protect and serve,” Acting Prosecutor Linskey said. “We feel that this sentence sends an unmistakable message that such conduct among members of law enforcement will never be tolerated.  This former officer’s actions are also a profound disservice to all of the hardworking and dedicated members of law enforcement who work diligently each day to protect their communities with honor.”

The case was prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the Office’s Professional Responsibilities and Bias Crime Unit.

Walls was represented by Mitchell Ansell, Esq., of Ocean Township.