Date: October 19, 2020
Incident location(s): 1600 Block of Lawncrest Lane, Gloucester Township, NJ
Case Number: 2020-47958
Investigating Detectives/Officers: Det. Nicholas Aumendo #228
On Sunday, October 18, 2020, at approximately 11:28 PM, the Gloucester Township Police were following up on a parking violation for an inoperable vehicle on Lawncrest Lane, which required the vehicle to be removed from the roadway. When the tow truck arrived on location with an officer, a subject, later identified as Oliver Ndemezeng, opened a window from his second story townhome and threw a glass bottle at the tow truck driver, nearly striking him in the head.
Oliver Ndemezeng began screaming in an aggressive manner at the officer, and then threw another glass mug causing the officer to duck to avoid getting hit in the head. Oliver Ndemezeng appeared to be in a manic state, as he was screaming threats and obscenities at the officers while hanging out of a 2nd floor window. Officers saw him attempting to ignite a glass full of liquid believed to be an accelerant. He continued to throw objects at the officers as they attempted to de-escalate from the street. The officers observed him using a blow torch to attempt to light the window sill on fire, and then threatened to burn the officers if they towed his car. More officers arrived and they quickly and safely removed the other family members from the residence. The family members informed officers that the subject was in a violent, manic state, and that they were concerned that he would harm himself or burn down the townhome.
Officers evacuated neighboring homes and established a perimeter around the residence. Oliver Ndemezeng appeared several times hanging out of the 2nd floor windows, screaming and threatening to stab the officers if they came into the home. He then threw several knives at them, which struck a fence close to where an officer was positioned. The subject then retreated inside of the residence and was seen moving furniture in front of the doors in an effort to barricade himself inside.
The Gloucester Township Police Special Response Team (SWAT) and Crisis Negotiations Team (CNT) were activated and immediately responded to the scene. Over the course of the next 4 ½ hours, the Negotiators attempted to make contact with Oliver Ndemezeng by making phone calls and loud hailing with a bull horn, however he refused to respond to the calls. The suspect periodically threw knives, ceramic plates, and automotive wrenches at the officers in the Armored Rescue Vehicle, while igniting a blow torch in a threatening manner from the 2nd floor window. After a few hours, the Special Response Team officers made entry and attempted to contact him, but received no response from him. The officers found him hiding in the attic. The officers tried to get him to come out but he refused, and began again to scream and threaten to stab the officers. The suspect began lighting debris and flammable liquid fireballs and would throw them at the officers from the attic opening. He then sprayed a liquid accelerant at the officers, while attempting to ignite it from a makeshift blow torch. The officers utilized fire extinguishers to keep the house from catching on fire. The officers deployed less lethal Pepperball Launching System projectiles in an effort to get him out of the attic. Officers then deployed a Conductive Energy Device (CED or Taser) on the suspect and they were able to remove him from the attic and secure him without injury. The subject was immediately treated by Paramedics who were on scene with the officers. The residence was checked by Gloucester Township Fire Department units who were standing by throughout the incident.
The residents were safely returned to their homes, and assistance was provided to them by the Gloucester Township Police Community Relations Bureau, and the Camden County Prosecutors Office of Victim Witness Advocacy. Gloucester Township Department of Public Works responded to the scene, cleaned the street and area, re-secured the front door of the residence, and repaired the thermostat after the suspect ripped it off the wall, for the homeowner so that heat could be restored.
Chief David Harkins stated, “I am very proud of the incredible amount of restraint and professionalism that was demonstrated by our officers, who were directly and dangerously threatened by a very unstable and violent person. This was a great team effort by all involved which resulted in the safe apprehension of someone who was threatening himself and others”.
Oliver Ndemezeng was transported to the hospital by EMS for medical evaluation and was charged with the following crimes:
1 count of 2nd degree Aggravated Arson
1 count of 2nd degree Possession of Weapon for Unlawful Purpose
2 counts of 3rd degree Aggravated Assault
2 counts of 3rd degree Possession of a Destructive Device
2 counts of 3rd degree Possession of Weapon for Unlawful Purpose
1 count of 4th degree Obstruction of Administration of Justice
1 count of Criminal Mischief (Disorderly Persons Offense)
Arrest: Oliver Ndemezeng, Age 33; 1600 Block of Lawncrest Lane, Clementon, NJ 08021
Date of Media Release: 10-19-2020
Media Release By: Lt. Jason Gittens #134
Approved By: Chief David Harkins #122