A man who allegedly threatened police officers on Tuesday with a 10-inch kitchen knife was safely taken into custody after police negotiated with him to drop the weapon.
According to North Bergen Police Lt. Frank Cannella, commander of the Investigative Bureau, police received a call about domestic violence at 9 a.m. regarding Victor Morel, 28, of Union City.
They said he allegedly attempted to gain entrance into his “significant other’s” home on Kennedy Boulevard, near 18th Street.
The woman he had been trying to visit had a final restraining order against Morel, police said. Police said that they observed him carrying a red and black backpack and walking north on Kennedy Boulevard.
“The officers faced the situation by the book.” – Frank Cannella
Cannella said he allegedly walked away several times after police told him he was not free to go.
When they attempted to arrest Morel, he allegedly drew a knife out of the hem of his jeans and began waving it at the officers.
“He continued to scream [allegedly], ‘Shoot me; I’m not afraid to die’ in English and in Spanish,” said Cannella.
Cannella said that officers drew their weapons, but continued to talk to him in both English and Spanish and put some distance between Morel and themselves.
Then Capt. Robert Hovan and Det. Enrique Marrero were called in to negotiate with Morel. Marrero is a trained hostage negotiator.
Cannella said that the Union City Police were quick to respond to the scene for backup.
Ten minutes later, Hovan and Marrero were able to get their suspect to toss his knife into the street and be taken into custody.
“The officers faced the situation by the book,” said Cannella. “They showed tremendous restraint. Their lives were certainly in danger, but they choose to diffuse it and take him into custody without firing a shot.”
No one was injured.
Cannella said that it was not believed as this time that Morel was under the influence of any substance.
Arrested and charged
Cannella said that after being arrested, Morel was taken to Hoboken University Medical Center for a psychological evaluation. Afterward, he was brought to North Bergen Police Headquarters, where he was processed without incident.
Morel was charged with violating a final restraining order, three counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, terroristic threats, resisting arrest, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and unlawful possession of a weapon.
His bail was set at $25,000 at North Bergen Municipal Court and he is currently waiting arraignment in the Hudson County Correctional Facility located in Kearny.
Tricia Tirella may be reached at TriciaT@hudsonreporter.com.