Fanwood Man Charged in Connection with Weekend Standoff

The Fanwood man who allegedly fired a rifle at police during a nearly eight-hour standoff at his home over the weekend has been charged with numerous criminal offenses, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Monday.

John Antonucci, 49, was charged with four counts of aggravated assault for each of the five law enforcement officers who were fired upon, plus three counts of resisting arrest and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Antonucci remained lodged at Union County Jail as of Monday, held on $500,000 bail set by state Superior Court Judge Robert J. Mega.

Fanwood police were called to a residential property on Locust Avenue on a report of shots being fired shortly after 11 p.m. Friday to encounter a man later identified as Antonucci, according to Fanwood Police Chief Richard Trigo. Antonucci initially was seen standing in a window brandishing a weapon, Trigo said.

Antonucci allegedly started firing at officers with a rifle shortly before midnight, when officers returned fire; approximately 10 rounds in all were discharged during the exchange. Negotiations lasting nearly seven hours followed, and Antonucci was taken into custody shortly before 7 a.m. Saturday.

No one was injured during the incident, although a neighbor suffering from anxiety was taken to a local hospital for observation as a precautionary measure. Investigators obtained a Superior Court search warrant for the home, after which more than a dozen assorted firearms were recovered. The weapons later were found to have been registered to Mr. Antonucci.

Fanwood police received operational support from the Union County SWAT unit, Union County Prosecutor’s Office, Union County Police Department, Union County Office of Emergency Management, NJ Transit Police, the Scotch Plains Police Department, and the Westfield Police Department.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.