HEAR THE 911 CALLS: Brick man says he’s ‘raising hell,’ is shot by cops
Authorities released Wednesday recordings of 911 calls made the day an encounter between 21-year-old Brick Township man Julian Hoffman and township police left the man dead.
Much about that encounter remains unclear — and though Ocean County officials released the 911 recordings Wednesday in response to an Open Public Records Act request by New Jersey 101.5, prosecutor's office spokesman Al Della Fave said he doesn't yet have anything further to say about it.
Here's what we know so far: The prosecutor’s office has said police responded to a home on Cherrywood Circle after receiving a call from a man threatening to “create a disturbance” — later identified as Julian Hoffman. The prosecutor’s office said Brick officers Jason Nye and Ryan Osborn encountered Hoffman, who had “what appeared to be a black semi-automatic hand gun” that officers ordered him to drop. When he failed to comply, the officers fired at the man several times, killing him, the office said.
What we don't know: It's not clear why the prosecutor's office only described what Hoffman has as "what appeared to be" a gun — it hasn't yet said what was actually found to be in his hands. Hoffman's father has been quoted in media reports saying it was an air rifle, and that his son put it down when commanded. But the prosecutor's office, mum though it may be on the details, has told New Jersey 101.5 "a lot of inaccurate information" about the shooting is floating around.
Hoffman's father has also been quoted in media reports saying surveillance video may show the encounter. The prosecutor's office told New Jersey 101.5 earlier this month it was still trying to determine if any such video actually exists.
Della Fave Wednesday declined to make any statement as to when more information might be released.
In the 911 audio recordings, a person who seems to be Hoffman is heard calling the Ocean County Sheriff's department — his voice sounding frayed, but calm at first — asking police to come to his home for a "disturbance."
When he's asked if it's being caused by a male or a female, he answers: "I don't know. There's a f--king disturbance. ... It's f--king me, I'm raising hell." He gets off the phone when asked his name.
In subsequent calls, other people nearby tell police they've heard shots fired, and are asked to stay in their homes.
Both officers involved were on paid leave as a matter of standard procedure while the incident is investigated, Brick Police Chief Nils R. Bergquist told New Jersey 101.5 late last month. A call Wednesday morning to check on the officers' status had not yet been returned. He said at the time the two were “very good officers” with no history of disciplinary trouble.
New Jersey 101.5 has also requested copies of any dashboard, surveillance or other recording in law enforcement’s possession, but been denied access to the materials as part of an ongoing investigation.
Louis C. Hochman is digital managing editor for NJ1015.com. Reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @LouisCHochman.