OCEAN COUNTY – A Connecticut man is now in custody following a massive statewide manhunt. He was being pursued for shooting at a police officer earlier today.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer reported Miguel Angel Villegas, 29, of New Haven, Connecticut was taken into custody by the United States Marshals Service and the New York City Police Department at Penn Station, New York, NY around 8 p.m.
Billhimer said “a massive manhunt began earlier today after Villegas exchanged gunfire with a Tuckerton Borough Police officer earlier this morning in Tuckerton.”
Villegas was taken into custody this evening without incident. The incident began around 10:22 a.m. when Villegas shot at a the borough officer after the vehicle he was in, fled from the intersection of Route 9 and North Green Street where a lawful motor vehicle stope was being conducted.The car he was a passenger in caused a collision with another vehicle.
The police officer was unharmed in the exchange of gunfire but Villegas escaped on foot which promompted the manhunt which culminated at Penn Station.
Billhimer said that Villegas “will be charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose.”
“It is my understanding that Villegas is wanted out of Connecticut. We will be seeking extradition from New York to bring him back here to Ocean County to face these charges,” Billhimer said.
Despite Villegas’s incarceration, Billhimer said the investigation is ongoing and more details are expected to be released.
Earlier today all area schools were placed on lockdown while police investigated the situation and searching for Villegas who had at that time had been seen wearing a blue hooded jacket and riding a bike in the Tuckerton/Parkerton area. Route 539 was closed by police during the search.
The prosecutor thanked the collaborative efforts of the county prosecutor’s office, US Marshals Service, NYC Police Department, Little Egg Harbor Police, New Jersey State Police, New Jersey State Police Regional Operations Intelligence Center, New Jersey State Police Aviation Unit, New Jersey Transit Police, Ocean County Regional SWAT, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit, New Haven Police, Port Authority Police, Tuckerton Fire Department and Tuckerton Public Works Department.
Billhimer said, “this was truly a team effort. The public can rest easy tonight knowing the men and women of law enforcement worked through the day into tonight to bring Villegas into custody peacefully.”
Story by Kimberly Bosco and Bob Vosseller