Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey and Chief John Zebrowski of the Sayreville Police Department announce that police officers safely apprehended a well-armed man who was wearing a ballistic vest on yesterday afternoon.
According to authorities, on Sept. 11th, at 4:04 pm, police were dispatched to the Visions Gentlemen’s Club, located on Rt. 35 in the Melrose section of Sayreville after receiving a call that an employee was inside with a firearm.
Officials say Kevin Smith, “a/k/a” Kevin Papalia, 32, of Keyport, was subsequently identified as the person possessing the firearm at the establishment. Police observed Smith quickly exit the building and drive away. At the time, Smith was wearing a ballistic vest, military style helmet, and was carrying a firearm.
Police stopped Smith a short distance from the club where he surrendered. During the arrest, a black tactical ballistic vest was removed from the defendant’s body, and police recovered a helmet, and an AK-47 style firearm, along with a loaded magazine for that weapon.
After being taken into custody, Smith was transported to Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy. Traffic on Rt. 35 at the Victory Bridge was diverted during the investigation.
After securing the scene, officers recovered a second tactical vest and several loaded, large capacity magazines from inside the manager’s office of Visions Gentlemen’s Club.
Furthermore, officers also additionally recovered a rifle, over 1,000 rounds of ammunition, and body armor from Smith’s residence in Keyport.
“On 9/11, a day in America’s history where, we show our support for our first responders, we are indebted to the police officers involved in this matter for their extraordinary efforts to preserve life and keep the community safe.” - Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey.
Chief Zebrowski commended the actions of his officers saying, “This incident quickly unfolded and the decision not to immediately confront this individual was the right choice. The restraint utilized by the responding officers defused a potentially tragic confrontation.”
Authorities charged Smith with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Unlawful Possession of Large Capacity Magazines, and Unlawful use of a Body Vest.
The investigation is active and continuing.
Anyone with information is asked to call Captain Jack Fitzsimmons, Division Commander, of the Sayreville Police Department at 732-525-5409.
As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Smith are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.