The Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team is investigating a non-fatal shooting last night in Lake Hopatcong in which a state trooper wounded a man during a domestic violence investigation when the man allegedly charged at him.
According to the preliminary investigation, the incident began when troopers from the Netcong State Police Barracks received a report of a woman walking along the shoulder of Interstate 80.
When a trooper responded to assist the woman and bring her to the State Police barracks, she reported that she had been assaulted by her boyfriend while they were driving on I-80, and he had made her get out of the car. She had visible injuries on her face and body. Her boyfriend was identified as Matthew Gerndt, 35, of Lake Hopatcong.
Five troopers responded to Gerndt’s rented residence on Brady Road in Lake Hopatcong at approximately 11:30 p.m. to arrest him on an assault charge.
Troopers saw Gerndt exit the rear of the residence through sliding glass doors onto a patio. The troopers identified themselves as State Police, but Gerndt retreated into the house and locked the patio doors. Troopers gained entry to the building to arrest Gerndt, who lives on the lower level of the house.
Three troopers proceeded to enter the lower-level residence while identifying themselves as troopers. While the troopers were effecting the arrest of Gerndt in a narrow hallway, he allegedly charged aggressively at the trooper who was in the lead position, who subsequently fired two rounds from his service handgun, striking Gerndt once in the lower body.
Gerndt was taken to Morristown Medical Center for treatment of a non-life threatening injury. None of the troopers were injured. Gerndt was charged with assault and resisting arrest. He will be detained on the domestic violence assault charge upon discharge from the hospital.
No further details of the shooting are being released at this time due to the ongoing investigation.
The shooting is being investigated by the Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team. Under an Attorney General Directive, the Shooting Response Team, made up of deputy attorneys general, detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice, and detectives of the State Police Homicide Unit, are dispatched to the scene to handle investigations of shootings involving state troopers or officers employed by county prosecutors as detectives/investigators or members of county emergency response teams and task forces.