HOPATCONG — A group of people shot themselves in the foot, figuratively speaking, after they lied about shooting guns, police said.

When police arrived at a home for a report of gunshots, the group tried telling officers they did not have any weapons despite bullet casings clearly visible on the deck, officers say.

The incident happened early in the morning of Oct. 8. The responding officer reported finding five people on the deck when he arrived and that two people went inside the house despite his order to stay where they were. The two men eventually returned to the deck and the officer said all five had been drinking.

When the people were questioned, police say they people reported shooting fireworks rather than guns, and did not have any guns. However, after a search warrant was issued, police found a .22 magnum revolver with a box of ammunition, a handgun magazine with 12 rounds in it, and a 9mm handgun buried in an outside planters box, police said.

According to police, the five people denied having guns even on the way to headquarters before one admitted that the gun had been buried in the box.

"If these people just told the officers that they were shooting the gun at a wooden stump the most one of them would be charged with would be a borough ordinance and a stern lecture about guns and alcohol," police said Tuesday in a news release.

Tanja Lewis, 55, Elizabeth Knolmayer, 31, of Hoboken, Matthew Knolmayer, 55, of New Brunswick, Jason Babinec, 44, of Far Hills, and Jonathan Lotz, 52, of Sparta, were all charged with obstruction. Lewis was also charged with violating a borough ordinance against shooting a gun.

All five were released after being charged.

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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com

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