FREEHOLD – An attempted armed burglary in Tinton Falls evolved into a shots-fired incident when the intended victims confronted the burglars. One man was arrested quickly but a second suspect fled to a Freehold Borough apartment, triggering a call for the Monmouth County Emergency Response Team, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
According to police Monday, a Tinton Falls police officer responded to the sound of a single gunshot in the area of William Street at about 1:27 p.m.
Police say as the officer proceeded into nearby Hance Park to investigate further, he was approached by the victims of an attempted burglary at their Peach Street residence.
The victims reported that they confronted the two burglars before one of the men pulled out a handgun and fired one shot into the air.
The two burglars then ran from the park. Alix Eugene, 20, of Eatoncrest Drive in Eatontown, was located and arrested nearby according to police.
A second suspect, Mr. Omari Key, 18, was believed to have fled to his apartment at Spring Terrace in Freehold Borough.
The Freehold Borough Police Department responded to Key’s apartment, and determined that Key was inside the residence but refused to surrender. Freehold Borough police secured the area and requested assistance from the Monmouth County Emergency Response Team (MOCERT).
After a 2-hour standoff, police say, Key was convinced to exit the residence and apprehended without incident.
The single gunshot prompted a brief “shelter in place” warning for Brookdale Community College in Middletown due to an abundance of caution while police sorted out the situation.
Key and Eugene are charged with second-degree Conspiracy to Commit Armed Burglary, second degree Attempted Armed Burglary, second-degree Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, and second-degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon. Key was additionally charged with third-degree Hindering by Suppressing and Concealing Evidence and fourth degree Aggravated Assault by Pointing a Firearm.
According to police, Key and Eugene are scheduled for a Detention Hearing on October 18th.
If convicted of any of the second-degree crimes, Eugene and Key each face a sentence of five to ten years in a New Jersey state prison.
If convicted of the third-degree offense, Key faces a sentence of three to five years in prison, and the fourth-degree charge carried a potential prison sentence of up to 18 months.
Anyone with information important to this investigation is urged to contact Detective Ramon Camacho of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 800-533-7443 or Detective Brian Cahill of the Tinton Falls Police Department at 732-542-4423.