Author: Team

MidJersey.News Team

19-Year-Old Trenton Man Charged in Hamilton Robbery

December 11, 2023

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–On Thursday December 7, 2023 at approximately 11:20 P.M., Officers were detailed to the Fast Trac gas station on the 1100 block of Chambers Street on a report of a Robbery that just occurred. Officers Gigliotti and Gilleo arrived on scene and located the victim who stated the suspect walked into the store, around the counter and began taking money out of the cash register. The victim attempted to stop the suspect but the suspect began striking the victim several times in the face. The suspect fled the store on foot with an unknown amount of money. The Officers put out a description of the suspect to responding unit. Officers Avanzato, Mutek, Vitoritt, and Cuffman located the suspect near East Brown Street and Bergen Street.

When Officers attempted to stop the suspect, he fled on foot. After a brief foot pursuit, the Officers were able to place the suspect under arrest. He was identified as Christian Carado, 19, of Trenton. Officers also located $170 in cash in his possession.

Carado was charged with Robbery, Burglary, Obstructing the Administration of Law, Resisting Arrest, and Simple Assault.

Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact Officer Frank LaVacca of the Hamilton Police Division Major Crimes Unit at (609) 581-4080 or the Hamilton Police Crime Tip Hotline at (609) 581-4008.

Christian Carado, 19, Trenton. Carado was charged with Robbery, Burglary, Obstructing the Administration of Law, Resisting Arrest, and Simple Assault according to Hamilton Police.

AG’s Office Releases Identities of the Decedent and Manchester Township Police Officers in Fatal Police-Involved Shooting on December 5, 2023

December 11, 2023

TRENTON — The Attorney General’s Office today identified the decedent and the officers involved in the fatal officer-involved shooting that occurred on December 5, 2023 in Manchester, New Jersey. The civilian who died during the encounter has been identified as Shannon Rose, 39, of Manchester.

According to the preliminary information, on December 5 at approximately 8:28 p.m., members of the Manchester Township Police Department responded to a 9-1-1 call reporting an individual in distress. Officers located the subject on Elizabeth Avenue in Manchester Township, and at approximately 9:10 p.m., Officer Nicholas Greenwood and Officer Michael Anderson, both of the Manchester Police Department, discharged their firearms, striking Mr. Rose. Authorities recovered a firearm near Mr. Rose.

A 2019 law, P.L. 2019, c. 1, requires the Attorney General’s Office to conduct investigations of a person’s death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody. It requires that all such investigations be presented to a grand jury to determine if the evidence supports the return of an indictment against the officer or officers involved.

The investigation is ongoing and no further information is being released at this time.

Homicide Task Force Seeking Public’s Assistance with Identifying Victim From September 28

December 11, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Trenton Police Department are seeking the public’s assistance with identifying a September 2023 Trenton homicide victim.

At approximately 4:20 p.m. on Thursday, September 28, 2023, Trenton police were detailed to the 500 block of Chestnut Avenue on the Swan Street side of an abandoned parking lot where they discovered an unresponsive Hispanic male with several large lacerations to his head and face. He was found next to an abandoned delivery truck that was parked in the lot and pronounced dead at the scene. Following an autopsy conducted by the Middlesex Regional Medical Examiner’s Office, the death was determined to be a homicide.

The New Jersey State Police Forensic Photography and Composite Artist Unit created the attached composite sketch of the male victim. Anyone with information about this case or the identity of this victim is asked to contact MCHTF Detective Andrew DiStefano at (609) 346-1402 or Sgt. Roberto Reyes at (609) 256-0997. Information can also be emailed to Anonymous tips are welcome.

Names of the 2023 Trenton Homicide Victims

  1. 1/16/2023 Donnell Williams, 29, Trenton, Shooting.
  2. 2/12/2023 Stephanie Vil, 34, of Burlington, Shooting.
  3. 2/16/2023 Khalil Glanton, 23, Trenton, Stabbing.
  4. 3/24/2023 Harold Rosario, 19, Trenton, Shooting.
  5. 3/26/2023 Nyeisha Saunders, 41, Trenton, Shooting.
  6. 4/09/2023 Jhosse Tolentino, 23, Trenton, Shooting
  7. 4/12/2023 Jared Anderson, Trenton, Shooting (died May 29)
  8. 4/14/2023 Daniel Garvin, 46, Trenton, Shooting
  9. 4/20/2023 Ralph Conquest, 43, of Lawrence, Shooting
  10. 4/20/2023 Nayquan Loveless, 22, passed away 8/15/2023
  11. 5/14/2023 Roger Martinez-Rodriguez, 27, Trenton, Stabbing
  12. 5/14/2023 Justin Reed, 24, of Ewing, Shooting (died May 22)
  13. 5/26/2023 Sherief Treadwell, 36, Trenton, Shooting
  14. 6/09/2023 Markell Biggs, 20, Trenton, Shooting
  15. 6/11/2023 Shaquan Brown, 23, Trenton, Shootin
  16. 6/11/2023 Andre Clark, Blunt Force Trauma from incident on September 25, 2022
  17. 6/15/2023 James Junior Journigan, 36, Shooting
  18. 6/15/2023 Louis Washington, 38, Trenton, Shooting, (died June 17)
  19. 6/19/2023 Ernest Denard, 61, Stabbing
  20. 6/22/2023 Guillermo Sanchez, Shooting
  21. 7/01/2023 Precious Saunders, 32, of Trenton
  22. 8/23/2023 Taquan Foxworth, 29, of Trenton, Shooting 8/19
  23. 9/02/2023 Ronald Taylor, 40, of Trenton, Shooting
  24. 9/16/2023 Balil Lewis, 37, of Trenton, Shooting
  25. 9/28/2023 Unidentified Male Homicide Chestnut Avenue
  26. 10/19/2023 Corey Jones, 40, of Trenton, Stabbing
  27. 11/24/2023 Leroy Tutt, 37, of Trenton Shooting

Trenton Murders Per Year Since 1989

NJ State Police Uniform Crime Report available here:

1989 = 22

1990 = 21

1991 = 7

1992 = 16

1993 = 11

1994 = 9

1995 = 16

1996 = 14

1997 = 12

1998 = 15

1999 = 8

2000 = 14

2001 = 13

2002 = 19

2003 = 13

2004 = 18

2005 = 31

2006 = 18

2007 = 25

2008 = 19

2009 = 18

2010 = 15

2011 = 23

2012 = 24

2013 = 37

2014 = 32

2015 = 17

2016 = 21

2017 = 23

2018 = 16

2019 = 15

2020 = 40

2021 = 40

2022 = 23

2023 = 27 as of November 27, 2023 **

* Prior to 1989 the known highest murder number was 1970 with 27

** Known as of November 24, 2023

*** NJ State Police Crime Statistics have not been updated since 2020

Monmouth County Man Sentenced to 20-Years in Prision for Making Threatening Communications and False Bomb Threats

December 7, 2023

TRENTON, N.J. – A Monmouth County, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 240 months in prison for making threatening telephone and email communications to New Jersey state officials, judges, law enforcement officers, and attorneys, and phoning in false bomb threats to local and state government offices, a police department, two law firms and a commercial establishment, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Eric G. Hafner, 32, formerly of Monmouth County, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp on May 17, 2022, to one count of making threating communications in interstate or foreign commerce with intent to extort, one count of making threatening communications in interstate or foreign commerce, and one count of conveying false information concerning the use of an explosive device. U.S. District Judge Zahid N. Quraishi imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.

“This defendant repeatedly targeted public servants—elected representatives, judges, and law enforcement officials—and private citizens with threats and attempts at extortion,” U.S. Attorney Sellinger said. “He further victimized these public officials, private citizens, and the public generally by calling in numerous false bomb threats to a courthouse, a police department, law firms, businesses, and an elected official’s office. These types of threating communications are unacceptable. They cause serious harm to victims, and will be met with a swift response by this Office. This defendant has now faced justice for these serious crimes.”

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

Between July 2016 and May 2018, while residing outside the United States, Hafner communicated threats to numerous individuals located in and around Monmouth County and elsewhere. The victims were elected officials, judges, police officers, attorneys, and their families. Hafner sought to extort $350,000 from some of his victims. Hafner also made false bomb threats to an elected official’s office, a county courthouse, a police department, two law firms, and a commercial establishment.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Quraishi sentenced Hafner to three years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Red Bank Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. He also thanked detectives of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office; officers of the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office; New Jersey State Police; the Bradley Beach Police Department; Fairhaven Police Department; Aberdeen Police Department; the Hazlet Police Department; Shrewsbury Police Department; the Red Bank Police Department; the Freehold Township Police Department; the Middletown Police Department; the Neptune Township Police Department; the Oceanport Police Department; the Deal Police Department; and the Manasquan Police Department for their assistance in the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ian D. Brater of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton and R. Joseph Gribko, Deputy Chief of the Civil Rights Division.


Defense counsel: Mark Catanzaro Esq. of Mount Holly, New Jersey

Wall Township Woman Dies After Being Struck by Vehicle

December 7, 2023

WALL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)– A 40-year-old Wall Township woman was struck and killed while awaiting a ride from a friend outside of her Brighton Avenue home.

At approximately 8:24 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7, 2023, the Wall Township Police Department responded to Brighton Avenue in the area of Romano Blvd. for a report that a pedestrian was struck by a motor vehicle.

The investigation revealed that a 2012 Honda Pilot being operated by a 64-year-old Oakhurst woman was traveling eastbound on Brighton Avenue when she struck, Georgina M. Stelman, 40-years-old of Wall Township while she was in the street awaiting a ride from a friend. Stelman was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune by Wall Township Emergency Medical Services where she was pronounced deceased approximately three hours later.

The accident is being investigated by Sergeant Andrew Baldino and Patrolman Johan Moreno-Garcia of the Wall Township Police Department.  If anyone witnessed the collision or has any information that would aid in the investigation, you are asked to contact the Wall Township Police Department at (732) 449-4500.

Trent Center West Fire Victim Passes Away at Hospital

December 6, 2023

TRENTON (Mercer) – One person has died as a result of the smoky two-alarm fire that erupted at the Trent Center West high-rise apartment building Saturday afternoon (Dec. 2, 2023).

Michelle Miller, 51, who suffered from severe smoke inhalation prior to being rescued from the blaze, passed away in hospital this week, Detective Lt. Brian Jones told MidJersey News.

Jones, public information officer for the Trenton Police Department, said the cause of the fire remains under investigation at this time, but he added that it is not believed to be suspicious in nature.

The blaze in the 15-story building at 465 Greenwood Avenue broke out in an apartment on the first floor and was reported about 1:25 p.m. on Saturday. While the flames themselves were quickly extinguished by firefighters, heavy smoke filled hallways and stairwells all the way up to the top floor.

Numerous rescues were made by firefighters, who also safely evacuated scores of elderly residents who were not hurt. EMS personnel from Trenton and surrounding towns rushed those who were injured to area hospitals. Several of those who were hurt were described as being in critical condition at the time.

In a post on Facebook, Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora reported that eight people were transported to hospitals, and that two firefighters were hurt. At this time, the conditions of the other victims were not disclosed by authorities.     

120 East State Announces Major Milestone in Project to Transform Historic Downtown Church into Steeple Center For Arts and Culture

New Jersey Historic Trust Awards $3 Million to Non-Profit 120 East State to Convert 200-Year-old Trenton Presbyterian Church into Community 

120 East State seeks other support to make $25 million project a reality

December 6, 2023

Trenton, NJ (MERCER) – – On December 5, 120 East State, the non-profit converting the historic First Presbyterian Church of Trenton (FPCT) complex in downtown Trenton, announced that the New Jersey State Historic Trust awarded it $3 million to transform the 300-year-old site into the Steeple Center, a community-oriented performing arts center and space for nonprofit and for-profit entities to use.

The First Presbyterian Trenton congregation has seeded the project with its first $1 million dollar gift. The New Jersey Historic Trust and the James Kerney Foundation each made 2022 early investments of $825,000 and $5,000 respectively. 120 East State formed in 2022 to repurpose the church, on the National Historic Register, with its other buildings and grounds. FPCT was the site of fighting during George Washington’s victory at the Battle of Trenton on Christmas Day, 1776. Its graveyard is believed to contain the graves of American and Hessian mercenary soldiers fighting for the British, including Hessian commander Maj. Johan Rall, and the first U.S. Army chaplain to die in battle, the Rev. John Rosbrugh.

“Trenton is a historic city that we all love, and we want to preserve our history. I am pleased that First Presbyterian Church of Trenton will transform itself into the Steeple Center for Culture and the Arts,” said Mayor Gusciora. “This is a unique opportunity to preserve this historic edifice for future generations and will certainly play a large role in the upcoming celebration of America’s 250 Anniversary. Special thanks are in order for The First Presbyterian Trenton congregation, New Jersey Historic Trust, and the James Kerney Foundation for their early contributions to make this project a reality.”

“When we come together, we can make great things happen, but we must recognize the greatness in our wealth. Our City is rich in its history, and that’s what we realize here. When we’re doing things to make sure our history doesn’t fall by the wayside, it makes a difference not just for me or you, but for everyone,” said City Council President West Ward Councilwoman Teska Frisby.

“This is a tremendous day for the Steeple Center and for the community it will serve here in the heart of Trenton,” Cherry Oakley, 120 East State Board President, said. “We are deeply grateful for the grant from the New Jersey Historic Trust and, of course, to the congregation of First Presbyterian Church and Coastlands Presbytery, whose lease allows us to launch this conversion.”

“While this is a really important milestone, it is only one step,” Oakley said. “We continue to need support to make the Steeple Center a reality for our community and Trenton. This is a great space, but the main church building, almost 200 years old, is showing its age. Job one is to get the buildings up to snuff so we can move forward together with our neighbors.”

“We anticipate that converting from an historic church into the Steeple Center for Arts and Culture will cost about $25 million dollars, which includes the renovation and construction costs of the historic site, and the further development of 120 East State, so it can steward and operate the property,” Molly Dykstra, Project Leader, said.

120 East State will contribute to the revitalization of the surrounding community. Its intention is to become a sustainable source of jobs for local residents while creating opportunities that foster meaningful connections between Trenton residents and visitors, all while highlighting the important history of this property.

AG’s Office Investigating Fatal Police-Involved Shooting in Manchester, N.J.

December 6, 2023

TRENTON — The Attorney General’s Office is investigating a fatal police-involved shooting that occurred on December 5, 2023, in Manchester, New Jersey. One adult male sustained fatal injuries. His identity is not being released at this time.

According to the preliminary information, officers from the Manchester Township Police Department responded to Elizabeth Avenue after a 9-1-1 call was received at approximately 8:28 p.m. last night, Tuesday, December 5. Officers located the subject, and two officers fired their service weapons at approximately 9:10 p.m., fatally wounding the subject. A firearm was recovered near the subject.

A 2019 law, P.L. 2019, c. 1, requires the Attorney General’s Office to conduct investigations of a person’s death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody. It requires that all such investigations be presented to a grand jury to determine if the evidence supports the return of an indictment against the officer or officers involved.

The investigation is ongoing and no further information is being released at this time.

Private Police Training Promoted Unconstitutional Tactics, Demeaned Women and Minorities, and Glorified Violence, Investigation Finds

About 240 New Jersey officers from across the state attended the taxpayer-funded training, the Office of the State Comptroller found.

December 6, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Hundreds of law enforcement officers across New Jersey attended a private police training conference that taught unconstitutional policing tactics, glorified violence, denigrated women and minorities, and likely violated a myriad of state laws and policies, the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) found.

Billing itself as one of the country’s largest private police training companies, the New Jersey-based Street Cop held a six-day training conference in Atlantic City in October 2021. Nearly 1,000 police officers attended, some 240 from New Jersey, the majority paying with public funds, according to OSC’s investigation released today.

Private, post-academy police training has virtually no regulation. Neither the Attorney General, Police Training Commission, nor any other public entity determines what private vendors like Street Cop can teach. Reviewing hours of Street Cop video footage and internal documents, as well as conducting interviews with scores of witnesses, OSC’s Police Accountability Project found the lack of oversight allowed for alarming deficiencies in the training, including:

“We found so many examples of so many instructors promoting views and tactics that were wildly inappropriate, offensive, discriminatory, harassing, and, in some cases, likely illegal. The fact that the training undermined nearly a decade of police reforms—and New Jersey dollars paid for it—is outrageous,” said Kevin Walsh, Acting State Comptroller.

Street Cop, which described this event as “standard fare,” produced records showing that the 240 New Jersey officers who attended the training came from 77 municipal police departments, six county agencies, one interstate agency, and four state agencies, including the New Jersey State Police. OSC independently confirmed that three county agencies, 48 municipal police departments, one interstate agency, and two state agencies (including the New Jersey State Police), spent public funds on the conference.

More than $75,000 in public funds was spent, not including paid time off or paid training days, but the actual amount could not be determined. Street Cop records were incomplete and inaccurate. For instance, its records said it received roughly $320,000 from various New Jersey law enforcement agencies for other trainings held between 2019 and 2022, but OSC investigators found that the actual amount was at least double that.

The cost to New Jersey could be even higher, as Street Cop presenters promoted the kinds of tactics and behaviors that can prompt multi-million dollar lawsuits for excessive force, unlawful searches and seizures, and workplace harassment and discrimination.

For nearly a decade, Attorneys General in New Jersey adopted initiatives and reforms that focused on having officers approach policing as “guardians,” rather than “warriors,” to curb bias and excessive force in policing and restore community trust. At the Street Cop training, speakers mocked the idea of reimagining policing, belittled Internal Affairs, which investigates police misconduct, promoted a “warrior” approach to policing, and dehumanized civilians. One speaker spoke about “loving violence” and praised savagery –“drinking out of the skulls of our enemies.” Another used an offensive meme of a monkey after describing a motor vehicle stop of a “75-year-old Black man coming out of Trenton.”

Despite state discrimination laws and New Jersey’s zero-tolerance policy on discrimination and harassment, the Street Cop conference was saturated with derogatory remarks about women and racial and ethnic minorities. Street Cop Founder/CEO Dennis Benigno, a former New Jersey police officer, for instance, talked about wanting to die in Colombia, surrounded by cocaine and “girls” who are “not as wealthy and need to do things to make money.”

None of the New Jersey police who attended complained about the training to their agencies, OSC found. “What is painfully evident is that it often takes more than laws and policies to change behavior and attitudes,” said Walsh. “New Jersey needs quality police training, and to have that quality training, we need regulation over private companies operating in this sphere.”

Benigno said the company annually conducts 40 to 45 courses in New Jersey, training more than 2,000 NJ state and local law enforcement officers every year.

OSC’s investigation also found that at least 46 states have expended public funds on Street Cop training.

OSC made nine recommendations, including calling on the Legislature to consider legislation to close the gap on oversight. OSC also is sending referrals to the Attorney General, the Division on Civil Rights, and other agencies for further investigation.

Read the report.

Watch the videos of Street Cop trainings.

Sign up now for OSC’s newsletter.  

To report government fraud, waste, mismanagement, or corruption, file a complaint with OSC or call 1-855-OSC-TIPS.

The Pitfalls of Private, Unregulated Police Training:

Street Cop Video Excerpts 

The videos below contain offensive content and images.* 

In Memoriam: Brian McCarthy Veteran Photojournalist

December 5, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–MidJersey News is saddened to report the passing of our friend and colleague, veteran news photographer/videographer Brian McCarthy, who died on Nov. 28, 2023 following a brief hospital stay. Brian was a loyal supporter of MidJersey News from the beginning and his photos have featured prominently on this site over the past four years.

In a career that spanned nearly 50 years, Brian photographed presidents and politicians, Hollywood actors and rock stars, race car drivers and athletes. He photographed combat overseas and peaceful protests closer to home. He photographed community events, charity fundraisers and parades.

But he was best known for his photos and videos showing the work of firefighters, police, emergency medical professionals, the military, and other first responders in the Mercer County area. Brian responded to fires, crashes, crimes and other breaking news incidents not because he wanted to exploit such tragedies. Instead, he did so because – through his camera lens – he wanted to document the positive things that emergency services personnel do day in and day out. He wanted the public to see the heroism and humanity of first responders in the face of such horrors.

For this work, Brian earned the respect of many in the emergency services community. Tributes to Brian and memories of him are being posted on his Facebook page by active and retired firefighters, police officers, and EMTs, as well as longtime friends and fans.

Brian worked as an assignment photographer for United Press International and as a longtime freelancer for both of Trenton’s daily newspapers and other publications. He was also a publisher in his own right, having printed various community news publications over the years. In the digital age, his work has appeared all over Facebook and YouTube.

 “I’m Brian McCarthy and you’re on scene with me at… Let’s see what’s going on.” That was how Brian usually introduced his videos. In those videos, Brian always sought to inform and educate his viewing public about what was going on and how emergency personnel were working to save the day.

A native of Massachusetts, Brian and his family moved to New Jersey after his father – Walter “Pep” McCarthy, previously the head football coach at Boston Latin School – was hired as the freshman football coach at Princeton University in 1960. After 10 seasons coaching, “Pep” McCarthy assumed top administrative roles in Princeton University’s athletics department.

Sadly, Brian’s mother Ruth passed away in 1973 and his father was killed in a car crash in 1977. MidJersey extends our condolences to Brian’s daughter Shannon, his sister Lauren and his brother Sean.

Hilton Head, SC, Man, Fatally Injured in I-195 Crash in Hamilton Township, NJ

December 5, 2023–Update

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–New Jersey State Police Detective I Jeffrey Lebron told that Troopers responded to a motor vehicle accident on December 5, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. on I-195 east milepost 3.2 in Hamilton, Mercer County. Based on a preliminary investigation, a Toyota pick-up was traveling eastbound on I-195 in the area of milepost 3.2 at exit 3A. The Toyota lost directional control while attempting to negotiate the curve, running off the road subsequently impacting a tree and catching on fire. As a result of the crash, the driver, Dillon C. Michaels, 30-year-old male of Hilton Head, S.C., sustained fatal injuries. The crash remains under investigation and there is no further information available.  

Earlier story:

NJ State Police Investigates Serious Crash on I-195 in Hamilton Township
December 5, 2023

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Around 12:04 p.m. today December 5, 2023 NJ State Police, Hamilton Township Fire Department, RWJ EMS and Captial Health Paramedics responded to I-195 East Bound near mile post 3.2 near Exit 3 for a motor vehicle crash with fire. Upon arrival firefighters found a pickup truck that crashed into a tree and was heavily involved in fire and quickly extinguished the fire. New Jersey State Police Serious Crash Investigation Unit is investigating the crash. There was no word on injuries or condition of any occupants. No further information is available at this time.

Howell Township Man Admits to Killing Pet Cat

December 5, 2023

FREEHOLD – A Howell Township man has admitted to intentionally killing his pet cat earlier this year, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Tuesday.    

During a hearing yesterday before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Scott C. Arnette, 29-year-old Christopher Sanchez pled guilty to charges of third-degree Animal Cruelty by Unnecessarily or Cruelly Abusing a Living Animal, Resulting in its Death, and Simple Assault, a disorderly persons offense.

An investigation into Sanchez’s activities was initiated on Friday, March 31, when members of the Howell Township Police Department who were dispatched to a residence for an unrelated matter found the body of the cat outside the home.

Members of the Howell Township Police Department and the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Humane Law Enforcement Division conducted an investigation determining that the cat, named Lilith, had belonged to Sanchez, who is alleged to have used a sharp instrument to kill it two days earlier.

Sanchez was arrested on the same day as the initial police response. The Simple Assault charge was filed against him because he physically attacked his roommate shortly after killing the cat.

This case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Keri-Leigh Schaefer and Sevan Biramian.

Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for Friday, January 26, 2024, at which time the State intends to recommend a sentence of five years in state prison – the maximum permitted under state law – including an order to sign a consent order permanently banning him from ever again owning an animal as a pet.

Live or Work in Ship Bottom Year Round?

Liven Up Your Off Season as a Fire Company Volunteer!

December 5, 2023

SHIP BOTTOM, NJ (OCEAN)–The seasonal crowds are gone, leaving those who live or work here year-round with a quieter, slower island. Want to liven things up? Become a Ship Bottom Volunteer Fire Company (SBVFC) volunteer.

“The off-season is training season,” said SBVFC Chief Todd MacLennan. Of the about 300 emergency calls SBVFC answers annually, roughly half take place in the three summer months. Fewer responses allow the fire company to get busy with practice burns and other training sessions that are difficult to fit in during the summer, MacLennan said.

The lower call volume mean experienced firefighters, water rescue associates, and fire police have more time to mentor new volunteers – something especially valuable for those without previous experience, MacLennan said.

“It’s like getting into the pool – come on over and put your toe in first,” he said. “Come to a meeting, meet everybody, come to a drill. This is definitely the best time of year to join.”

The Kids Went to College, Dad Went to Fire School

Volunteer Firefighter Peter Maschal signed up with SBVFC and enrolled in fire school shortly after his twin daughters left for college. Fall 2010 was the perfect time not just because of his emptied nest, he said, but because his chiropractic practice has a less hectic schedule after the seasonal residents leave.

“I was looking for a way to give back to my community, to help my neighbors,” he said. “The fact that my work schedule slows down a bit in the off-season meant it was easier to make the commitment to go to classes for firefighting.”

Maschal had no previous firefighting experience, but the free training and the drills with seasoned SBVFC firefighters meant “I knew what I was doing when I went on the fire truck,” he said. “I had confidence.”

The Joy of Teamwork

Volunteer Firefighter Aidan Ryan played baseball in college and after graduation, missed the brotherhood of his teammates. “That was a huge draw to firefighting for me,” said Ryan, an insurance agent who has served on the SBVFC team for three years. “Being able to be part of a team, something bigger than myself, and helping the community is pretty awesome.”

Being a firefighter is fun, and helping people feels great – whether someone is in trouble on the water or roadway, a structure is burning, or any other of the myriad reasons people need help. “Something as simple as changing out a smoke detector can make a huge impact and prevent major tragedies, and that’s just a good feeling,” he said.

Many Ways to Make a Difference

MacLennan, the SBVFC chief, said the fire company reflects the Ship Bottom community, and both seasonal and year-round residents and people who work on the island make important contributions to the fire company.

He and other volunteers commute off the island for work, MacLennan said, and the contributions of volunteers who live elsewhere but spend their work days in Ship Bottom is invaluable. Seasonal resident volunteers, many of whom are firefighters or lifeguards elsewhere during the off-season, mean SBVFC benefits from more volunteers when call volumes are highest.

Ship Bottom Volunteer Fire Company needs multiple kinds of volunteers.
• Firefighters respond to fires, water rescues, car accidents, and other emergencies.
• Water rescue specialists utilize their skills to rescue people from the water
• Fire Police bring calm and order to all emergencies by managing crowds and traffic.
• Junior firefighters are teen members who train with and assist and can become full firefighters at 18.
• Administrative members perform non-emergency roles including fundraising, event support, truck maintenance, and much more.

“People who take on non-emergency roles are valuable fire company volunteers whose work allows the fire company to keep helping people and eases the burden of emergency volunteers,” Maschal said.

To learn more or volunteer with Ship Bottom Volunteer Fire Company, visit

NJ State Police Investigates Serious Crash on I-195 in Hamilton Township

December 5, 2023


HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Around 12:04 p.m. today December 5, 2023 NJ State Police, Hamilton Township Fire Department, RWJ EMS and Captial Health Paramedics responded to I-195 East Bound near mile post 3.2 near Exit 3 for a motor vehicle crash with fire. Upon arrival firefighters found a pickup truck that crashed into a tree and was heavily involved in fire and quickly extinguished the fire. New Jersey State Police Serious Crash Investigation Unit is investigating the crash. There was no word on injuries or condition of any occupants. No further information is available at this time.

Original story:

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Around 12:04 p.m. today December 5, 2023 NJ State Police, Hamilton Township Fire Department, RWJ EMS and Captial Health Paramedics responded to I-195 East Bound near mile post 3.2 near Exit 3 for a motor vehicle crash with fire. Upon arrival firefighters found a pickup truck that crashed into a tree and was heavily involved in fire and quickly extinguished the fire. New Jersey State Police Serious Crash Investigation Unit is investigating the crash. There was no word on injuries or condition of any occupants. No further information is available at this time.

Firefighters Quickly Extinguish House Fire in Robbinsville

December 4, 2023

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Robbinsville police, firefighters and EMS were dispatched to the first block of Angelina Way at 7:28 p.m. for a 9-1-1 caller reporting a house fire after seeing flames from a window. The 9-1-1 caller also reported that there were no cars in the driveway. When firefighters arrived on location, they reported a fire visible from the front of the home and called for an “all hands fire” sending additional firefighters and equipment from Hamilton Township, and Hope Fire Company of Allentown. Fire crews advanced two 1 3/4″ hose lines into the burning home and quickly knocked down the fire and brought the fire under control within 15-minutes. Firefighters are still on scene at the time of this report and the Robbinsville Township Fire Marshal is actively investigating the cause of the fire. No other details are available at this time.

Firefighters quickly extinguished a fire at a home in the first block of Angelina Way around 7:30 p.m. tonight, December 4, 2023.