JACKSON – Township Police charged a township man for allegedly holding two individuals hostage at gunpoint on February 26.
Several officers arrived at 4:44 p.m. in response to a report that an armed male subject was holding two hostages at 7 Nancy Court. Upon arrival, they searched the wooded area behind the residence with before being directed to the actual location of the incident in the woods of Werko Place.
The officers had been advised that the male suspect was on the phone with them and was going to place his hands in the air as they arrived. They located the subject, later identified as Roger Stewart, standing in the woods with his phone up to his ear.
A loaded 22 caliber rifle was observed approximately 25 feet from where he was standing as well as multiple rounds located in Stewart’s pocket.
Police were told by the two individuals held at gun point that they were encountered by the armed suspect as they were trying to navigate their way out of the woods while they were riding their dirt bikes.
The individuals said Stewart had pointed a firearm at them several times and would not allow them to leave, directing them to exit their bikes and to come with him. At one point during the encounter when one of the victims refused to comply, in fear of what may happen had he followed, Stewart then reportedly pressed the muzzle of the firearm into his stomach with his finger on the trigger as a scare tactic.
According to the victims, Stewart said he planned to call both of their parents before calling the police himself. He told police that he was sitting in his home when witnessed the two individuals drive past his house on dirt bikes.
Stewart then advised officers he left his home with his 22 Caliber rifle and entered the woods looking for the individuals. The suspect also informed officers he did not point his rifle at the two individuals and that he had the rifle under his arm when he approached them.
Stewart was arrested and charged with Possession of Weapons for Unlawful Purposes and Aggravated Assault. Stewart was lodged in the Ocean County Jail as a result of his charges.
The public is reminded that anyone arrested or charged with any offenses or crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.