Authorities responding to reports of a suicidal man at an Essex Fells home soon learned that he had apparently attacked his father with a hammer during a domestic dispute.

Aggravated assault and weapons charges were filed Sunday against 46-year-old John Mekeel Jr.  They stem from the attack that left his father, also named John Mekeel, hospitalized in critical condition.

Authorities say John Mekeel Jr. was on the lawn holding a knife to his throat when they arrived around 3:45 a.m. After officers talked him out of harming himself, Mekeel said his father needed help inside the house.

Officers found the elder John Mekeel on the kitchen floor with severe head trauma. A bloodstained hammer was found nearby.

Further details on the attack were not been disclosed.

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