TOMS RIVER – An agitated man with a machete had to be tackled to the ground by police after a bizarre incident on Route 37 in the township, authorities said.
Toms River Police Spokesperson Jillian Messina confirmed that Sergeant Chris McDowell was on patrol when he saw the man yelling at passing vehicles on May 16 at around 7:35 p.m.
It appeared that the man had a large knife near the intersection of Brookside Drive and Route 37.
Police said off-duty Seaside Heights Police officer Robert Wasilick was passing by and stopped to assist when he observed the male with the knife.
Additional Toms River patrol officers responded and created a perimeter around the small, wooded area the male had retreated into.
According to Messina, the man was getting increasingly agitated and combative, and refusing the officers commands to drop the large machete he was swinging at officers.
After roughly twenty minutes of attempted dialogue to no avail, Officer Brian Appleby seized the opportunity to tackle the individual and secure the machete.
Officers subdued the man and transported him to Community Medical Center for an evaluation.
His identity has not been released and he was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon and disorderly conduct.
Police Chief Mitch Little said “I would like to commend all of the officers for an incredible amount of restraint which could have certainly become a deadly force situation.”
The incident remains under investigation.