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Fort Lee police release details of how they removed barricaded man from apartment

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

UPDATE: Fort Lee police this afternoon confirmed that they stormed the apartment of a distraught man who barricaded himself inside last night after threatening to hurt his family and blow up the building and took him into custody without incident.

Members of the Fort Lee Police Emergency Services unit finally went in after four hours without a resolution to the standoff at 2160 Center Avenue, a mid-rise complex (behind George Washington Bridge Plaza) that was the scene of a fire earlier this summer.

The unidentified man “threatened violence” to responding officers after refusing to let them in, Capt. Stanley Zon said this afternoon.

Detective Phil Ross and Officer John Ordonez, two of the department’s crisis team negotiators, were summoned and tried to engage him, but the unidentified man “stopped communicating and refused to exit the apartment or allow officers to enter,” the captain said.

“The situation escalated into a barricaded subject who officers treated with heightened caution and the unknown possibility of whether he was armed or not,” Zon said.

Center Avenue was closed down a block from the George Washington Bridge.

Fort Lee Emergency Service members – among them, Lt. Matthew Hintze, Sgt. Sean Peppard and Sgt. Cory Horton – got into place, and Police Chief Keith Bendul and Zon went to the scene, the captain said.

“Residents of the surrounding apartments in the building were evacuated and remained outside for their safety,” Zon said.

Ross and Ordonez continued to pursue “a non-violent resolution to the situation,” he said.

With “no resolve in sight,” EST members stormed the apartment, found the man and took him into custody without harm to anyone, Zon said.

Residents returned to their homes and the scene was entirely cleared around midnight.

A July 9 fire at the sprawling brick complex displaced 19 people.

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