Bridgewater resident charged following shots fired
BRIDGEWATER Township, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor, and Bridgewater Township Acting Chief of Police Captain Paul Payne announced the arrest of Donald G. Shaffer, age 61, Country Club Road, Bridgewater Township, New Jersey.
Prosecutor Robertson stated that on Monday, December 2, 2019 at 4:35 p.m. Bridgewater Township Police responded to a 9-1-1 call to a residence located on Country Club Road on an initial welfare check report which escalated to a shots fired call. A resident of the home notified law enforcement that Donald Shaffer was in the attached garage and had access to multiple weapons. Bridgewater Township Police Officers responded and upon arrival heard a series of gun shots coming from the garage. Officers immediately evacuated three occupants (ages 38, 3, and 8 months old) out of the residence safely and established a tactical perimeter while requesting for mutual aid from surrounding Somerset County law enforcement agencies as well as the New Jersey State Police. Somerset County SWAT activation was initiated along with County Crisis Negotiators, and FBI Crisis Negotiators. Prosecutor Robertson stated that at approximately 6:25 p.m. defendant Shaffer exited from the garage and was immediately placed into custody by SWAT officers without incident. Defendant Shaffer was unarmed at the time he was taken into custody. An investigation conducted by the Bridgewater Township Police Department in conjunction with the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit and the Crime Scene Investigations Unit revealed that defendant Shaffer fired multiple rounds within the confines of the garage. Two of the shots fired penetrated a garage door which came within close proximity to one of the initial responding Bridgewater Township Police Officers. During the execution of a Superior Court ordered search warrant investigators seized a total of four firearms consisting of a revolver, a semi-automatic handgun, a shotgun, and an AR-15 rifle along with approximately 2,000 rounds of ammunition.
Prosecutor Robertson stated that defendant Shaffer was transported to an area hospital for medical evaluation under police guard. Defendant Shaffer was charged with 2nd degree Possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose, 3rd degree Endangering another person, 4th degree Aggravated Assault, and Disorderly Persons Assault. Defendant Shaffer upon release from the medical facility with be lodged at the Somerset County Jail pending a detention hearing.
Prosecutor Robertson commended the initial responding Bridgewater Police Officers for their quick and decisive actions under duress along with the rapid law enforcement response which ultimately resulted in the safe surrender of the suspect without any injuries to everyone involved. The following agencies also responded to this incident: Somerset County TEMS, Somerset County Mobile Communications Command Post, Hillsborough Township Mobile Command Post, Martinsville Rescue Squad, and Green Knoll Rescue Squad.
Prosecutor Robertson, Chief Fodor, and Acting Chief Payne request anyone with information relating to this incident to contact the Bridgewater Police Department at (908) 722-4111, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit (908) 231-7100, or via the STOPit app. The STOPit app allows citizens to provide anonymous reports including videos and photos. STOPit can be downloaded to your smart phone for free at the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, access code: SOMERSETNJ. Information can also be provided through the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477). All anonymous STOPit reports and Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.
Note: We are required by the Rules of Court to include herein a statement explaining that the charges are merely an accusation and that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.