🔵 A disruptive mall patron is charged with attempted homicide, police say

🔵 He's accused of placing a Deptford cop in a potentially fatal chokehold

🔵 A teacher with jiu-jitsu training stepped in to save the cop's life

DEPTFORD — A man seen harassing shoppers at a Gloucester County mall has been charged with attempted homicide after placing a police officer in a chokehold, according to police. 

Michael A. Carberry, 43, of Mickelton was being disruptive and bothering people at the Deptford Mall to the extent that his behavior prompted a police response, the Deptford police said.

Officers went to the mall around 7:30 p.m. Friday night. Officer Anthony Gatto was one of the cops at the scene and found Carberry on the second floor.

Deptford cop Anthony Gatto helps a resident Feb. 2022. (Facebook)
Deptford cop Anthony Gatto helps a resident Feb. 2022. (Facebook)

Gatto repeatedly asked the man to leave the mall. When that didn't work, he tried approaching Carberry and guiding him by the arm but Carberry pushed his arm away, according to police. When it was clear Gatto had made no progress in trying to convince the man to leave, the officer went to arrest Carberry for disorderly conduct and defiant trespass.

However, police say Carberry assumed a fighting stance and a struggle ensued. Carberry is accused of placing Gatto in a "guillotine" chokehold, which is a martial arts move that can cut off blood and oxygen to the brain.

Fortunately, a bystander stepped in and helped Gatto to escape the chokehold. Robert Fitzpatrick, an English teacher and football coach at Penns Grove High School, told CBS 3 Philadelphia that he used his body weight and jiu-jitsu training to knock the suspect to the ground, freeing Gatto. Backup arrived and put Carberry in handcuffs.

"I hope people will be more inclined to engage and not sit by. We're all responsible. It's our civic duty to protect each other," Fitzpatrick said.

Deptford Mall entrance (Google Maps)
Deptford Mall entrance (Google Maps)

“Now, more than ever, we rely on the strength of community and the strength of each other. We value our relationships with the residents and stakeholders of Deptford Township and we are thankful that a mall patron had the bravery to intervene and assist our officer. For that, I am forever grateful," Deptford police Chief Joe Smith said.

Carberry is charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and defiant trespass. He is being held at Salem County Jail.

Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at richard.rickman@townsquaremedia.com

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