Officials: Man threatened to blow up building, kill himself and cops in Hoboken

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Following up on reports of a bomb threat in the southern end of Hoboken last night into this morning, Hoboken officials have released the details of the situation: where a man threatened to blow up a building and kill police officers – as well as himself. 

A Facebook photo of the Hoboken Police Department shutting down Observer Highway Saturday night. Photo credit to Facebook user Tom Link.
A Facebook photo of the Hoboken Police Department shutting down Observer Highway Saturday night. Photo credit to Facebook user Tom Link.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

In a lengthy joint statement from Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante, two of the Mile Square City’s top officials explained what transpired at 66 Willow Ave. last night.

According to the statement, a bomb threat to the location was called into police headquarters at 7:35 p.m. Police immediately responded by evacuating the building, which the male suspect thanked the police for doing, before threatening to kill himself and police officers.

The individual claimed to have several weapons and bombs and made a multitude of threats and demands, which made the Hoboken PD shut down the area surrounding the Neumann Leathers building – a large factory and home to over 45 artist and music studios, authorities said.

Large stretches of Observer Highway, Newark Street and Willow Avenue were also closed as a precautionary measure, officials said.

Throughout the ordeal, the Port Authority Emergency Services Unit provided backup as the Hoboken Police Department performed three searches of the building for the suspect before bomb sniffing dogs from the New Jersey Transit Police, Jersey City Police and Hudson County Sheriff’s Departments examined the building, police said.

At 2:30 a.m., the building was deemed safe.

The Hoboken Detective Bureau. along with the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office and liaisons to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force are all involved in the ongoing investigation to capture the man who called in the threats, Ferrante explained.

“There were many requests for information to be presented to the public through media and social media during the event,” Ferrante said in a statement.

“Based on the dynamics and danger at hand during the event, and the level of the threats and the belief that the individual was counteracting strategies and information that was stated over the police radio, I decided to have all communications be done at the scene, person to person, and to not put any information out which could have harmed our residents and our law enforcement officers that were undertaking a dangerous task during a very tense scene.”

Zimmer was complementary of all the law enforcement officials who helped throughout the evening.

“I want to thank all the public safety officers who responded to the bomb threat in Hoboken last night,” she said in a prepared statement. “The officers went above and beyond the call of duty to swiftly respond to the situation and ensure the safety of all residents.”

“In particular, I want to thank Chief Ken Ferrante, Captain Tory Pasculli, Captain Charles Campbell, and the entire Hoboken Police Department, in addition to officers from the Port Authority Police, the Hudson County Sheriff’s Department, New Jersey Transit Police, Jersey City Police Department and the Hudson County Prosecutors Office who were working in conjunction with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and the New Jersey State Police’s Regional Operations Intelligence Center.”

“Thanks also to the dedicated members of the Hoboken Fire Department, Hoboken Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and the Office of Emergency Management for assisting in the efforts throughout the event. I also would like to thank Stevens Police, the Hudson County Sheriffs and Union City Police for handling patrol duties in Hoboken for eight hours during this event.”

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