UPDATE: A jewelry store salesman who forced the lockdown of a Bergen County shopping center by firing a blank gun created danger for a large number of law enforcement responders through his “pointless act,” the local police chief said Monday.
Police responding to the report of shots fired Saturday night found David Ahdout, 33, of Upper Saddle River in his family’s Omega Fine Jewelry store in the Interstate Shopping Center off Route 17, Ramsey Police Chief Bryan Gurney said.
They also found nine blank ammo-firing pistol replicas, the chief said.
“At no time was the community in any danger,” Gurney wrote in a letter to residents Monday night. “The real danger was for the officers who responded to the pointless act of the suspect.”
Witnesses told police they saw Ahdout discharge the weapon behind the shopping center and duck into a back door of one of the businesses around 7:30 p.m., the chief said.
Responders from neighboring towns rushed to the scene, along with a Bergen County Regional SWAT team, Bergen County sheriff’s officers and other tactical responders.
Ramey police notified mall businesses to immediately lock down.
Joined by a Bergen County Regional SWAT team, they entered the jewelry store and took Adhout into custody.
Adhout was released on a summons to appear at a hearing on illegal weapons possession charges in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack, Gurney told Daily Voice following the incident.
It wasn’t immediately clear why he did it.
Customers and employees told Daily Voice the lockdown was lifted an hour or so after it began.
No injuries were reported.
“All of the officers that responded acted professionally and with the best interests of public safety,” Gurney said.
Ahdout, a Bergen Community College graduate, had a previous incident in Ridgewood in 2016 when police there said he drove through a fence and took off while intoxicated.
Officers responding to the 6:30 a.m. May 1 crash at the intersection of North Monroe Street and Morningside Road said they found him and his damaged vehicle on Smith Place.
They charged Ahdout with DWI, leaving the scene of a crash and careless driving before releasing him to a responsible adult and temporarily impounding the vehicle under John’s Law, records show.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice’s free daily emails and news alerts.