What to Know
- A man accused of firing shots from a rooftop in Salem, New Jersey, leading to a standoff that lasted for hours, is now in custody.
- Investigators say the suspect, identified by a family member as Eric Smith, was wanted for an outstanding warrant.
- Smith allegedly fired at a U.S. Marshals Task Force that was trying to take him into custody. No one was hurt during the shooting.
Police descended on downtown Salem, New Jersey, Wednesday after a gunman fired shots from the roof of a building then barricaded himself inside for hours.
The ordeal began around noon near Broadway and Market Street. The U.S. Marshals Task Force approached a man, identified as 27-year-old Eric Smith, who was wanted for an outstanding warrant out of Salem City and didn't appear in superior court.
Smith, who police say was armed with a handgun, allegedly went onto the roof of a nearby building and fired shots at the officers. A member of the task force returned fire.
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"I was a few blocks away and just heard a bunch of shots," one witness, who did not want to be identified, told NBC10. "Eight, nine."
No one was injured in the shooting, which prompted a standoff that lasted for several hours.
A large police presence of local, county and state law enforcement were on the scene as they negotiated with the shooter to surrender. Armored tanks and SWAT team members with guns drawn surrounded the building.
Hostage negotiators used a bullhorn and also called on Smith's family members to help get him to surrender, investigators said.
"He's a good man," Smith's aunt, Rebecca Holmes, told NBC10. "Good father. Good son. This is not normal for him. This is like shocking for me."
Just before 3 p.m., the shooter was taken into custody without incident, state police said. No law enforcement members were hurt.
"It seems to be a contained situation in the area," New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said at an earlier news conference for another event.
The building that police surrounded is owned by Salem County Community College, a campus receptionist said. It was unclear if any students were in the building at the time of the gunfire. Classes continued as normal at the main campus, which is located miles away in Carney's Point.
The community college and nearby county courthouse were placed under a lockdown, the prosecutor's office said. People were urged to avoid the area as court offices were closed for the day.
A worker at Pat's Pizza and Bistro, which is down the street on Broadway, said the sheriff's office told them to keep everyone inside after the initial shooting. They didn't hear any shots.
Police have not yet revealed what the initial warrant was for or the charges Smith will now face.