What to Know
- A man accused of shooting at an officer in a small New Jersey town, sparking a massive manhunt, is now in custody, officials said.
- Miguel Angel Villegas, 29, of New Haven, Connecticut, was arrested at Penn Station in New York City
- The arrest occurred hours after police descended on Tuckerton, New Jersey, to search for the suspect following a car crash and shooting.
A man accused of shooting at an officer in a small New Jersey town, sparking lockdowns and a massive manhunt, is now in custody.
Miguel Angel Villegas, 29, of New Haven, Connecticut, was arrested at Penn Station in New York City by U.S. Marshals and the NYPD shortly after 8 p.m. Thursday.
Villegas will be charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose.
The ordeal began shortly before 10:30 a.m. Thursday when police pulled over a black car on Route 9 and North Green Street in Tuckerton, New Jersey. The vehicle took off, crashing into a blue car nearby, according to investigators.
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When an officer arrived at the scene, a passenger inside the black car, identified by officials as Villegas, pulled out a gun and opened fire, police said.
"Right away the police officer saw the guy was acting strange and told him to, 'Show me your hands.' And then the guy started shooting at the police officer," Matt Sooy, a witness, told NBC10.
The officer, who wasn't hurt, fired back at Villegas who fled the scene, police said. Villegas was last seen wearing a blue jacket and riding a blue tricycle in Little Egg Harbor Township, the town’s police department said. Investigators suspect he stole the tricycle from outside a nearby house following the shootout.
A massive manhunt ensued with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Ocean County Regional SWAT, Tuckerton Borough Police, Little Egg Harbor Police Department, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office and New Jersey State Police all taking part in the search.
Schools in Tuckerton and Little Egg Harbor were locked down as the search continued.
Police warned residents to stay out of the area near the 500 block of Church Street and immediately call 911 if they saw the suspect. Around 3:45 p.m., police announced they confirmed the suspect was out of the immediate area and was no longer a danger to local residents.
Investigators believe Villegas got out of the area by using a ride-share vehicle headed to North Jersey. A source with NJ Transit told NBC4 New York Villegas was spotted on video using an escalator at Penn Station in New York City, Thursday afternoon.
Villegas was wanted out of Connecticut prior to Thursday's arrest, according to Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer. Officials are seeking extradition from New York to bring him to Ocean County, New Jersey, to face the pending charges against him.