Fugitive accused of shooting at cop in South Jersey arrested in NYC
A fugitive wanted on charges of shooting at a police officer Thursday morning in Ocean County was arrested almost 10 hours later at New York Penn Station.
A manhunt spanned the state on Thursday following a traffic stop that turned into a shootout after 10:22 a.m. at the intersection of Route 9 and North Green Street in Tuckerton.
The incident placed schools in the Tuckerton/Parkertown region on lockdown as police canvassed the area. Route 539 remained closed with police vehicles into the evening. Authorities expected to open the highway at midnight.
Authorities finally tracked Miguel Angel Villegas, 29 — a fugitive from New Haven, Connecticut — to Manhattan, where he was arrested about 8 p.m., Ocean County prosecutors said.
Police said Villegas was a passenger in a vehicle that refused to pull over for police. The car crashed into another vehicle and Villegas ran away after the shooting with a Tuckerton cop, who was not injured, prosecutors said.
Earlier in the day, police officials said the gunman had been seen riding an adult tricycle, which was caught on camera.
Authorities later said that the man may have hailed a ride to the NJ Transit train station in Union Township in Union County.
Villegas is expected to be charged with attempted murder, kidnapping and weapons offenses. Prosecutors did not explain the kidnapping charge or provide details about the driver of the car he was in, but said more details would be released later.
Villegas is also a fugitive from charges in Connecticut, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer said, adding that his office will seek to extradite him from New York to face charges in Superior Court in Toms River.
"The public can rest easy tonight knowing the men and women of law enforcement worked through the day into tonight to bring Villegas into custody peacefully,” Billhimer said in a written statement. “Even though Villegas is in custody, this remain an ongoing investigation. More details will be released as they become available.”
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.