Two hour armed hostage standoff in Raritan ends without incident

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RARITAN, NJ – A two-hour long armed standoff between a man who barricaded himself in his home with a female hostage and police ended peacefully this weekend.  After being called for shots fired within the home, police were able to secure the victim and suspect.

In a statement, Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor and Raritan Borough Chief of Police Raymond Nolte announced the arrest of Stephen E. McManus, age 74, Hidden Pond Court, Raritan, New Jersey.

On Saturday, December 12, 2020 at approximately 8:05 p.m. Raritan Police responded to a police call for service from a female homeowner of Hidden Pond Court reporting a male resident firing a gun inside the residence. Responding Raritan Officers along with Bridgewater Township Police Officers responded to the residence and identified the male resident as being Stephen E. McManus who was inside of the residence. Responding Officers temporarily evacuated nearby residents for their safety. Officers on scene were able to make direct visual and verbal contact with the female resident who was unharmed and secured inside in an upstairs bedroom of the residence. Responding Officers attempted to make contact with McManus who refused to exit the residence and barricaded himself within the residence.


Raritan Borough Police and Bridgewater Township Police initiated a perimeter of the residence while a Raritan Police Sergeant attempted to negotiate with McManus for a safe surrender. Raritan Borough Police activated the Somerset County Emergency Response Team which consisted of the Somerset County SWAT team, Crisis Negotiators Team, Tactical Emergency Medical personnel, and Somerset County Field Communications / Command Post. Authorities relayed to responding officers that McManus had access to several firearms.

At approximately 9:05 p.m. Somerset County SWAT responded and established command and control of the incident. Negotiations with McManus were turned over to Crisis Negotiators. At approximately 9:55 p.m. McManus exited the residence unarmed and was taken into custody by SWAT officers. The female resident was unharmed and no injuries were reported. The scene was turned over to Raritan Borough Police and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit for investigation. A Somerset County Superior Court ordered search warrant was executed which resulted in the seizure of multiple firearms and ammunition.

McManus was charged with second degree Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purpose. Defendant McManus was transported to an area hospital for evaluation. Prosecutor Robertson commends the quick response of law enforcement especially Raritan Police Sergeant Bonczek for his actions in negotiating with defendant McManus which ultimately resulted in the peaceful resolution of this incident.

Prosecutor Robertson, Chief Fodor and Chief Nolte request anyone with information relating to this incident to contact the Raritan Borough Police Department at (908) 725-6700 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.

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