Police & Fire

Little Falls Police Handle Unfounded Hostage Event Thursday

Updated at 2:35 p.m. Thursday

LITTLE FALL, NJ - At about 8:02 a.m. Thursday, the Little Falls Police Department responded to the scene of the Second Reformed Church, located at 6 Walnut Street, where reports had come in of a caller threatening to harm the pastor of the church. The Totowa Police Department and New Jersey State Police were quickly at the scene assisting as well. Additionally, the area school, Public School #1, was evacuated as a precaution and students were relocated to the Civic Center. By 9:50 a.m., the area was cleared and the students returned without incident to their classrooms.

Little Falls Detective Sergeant Jim Briggs commented, "I am pleased to announce that I have identified and charged the following individual for making the phone call that created the incident at Second Reformed Church." Briggs charged Robert DeYoung, 59, from Paterson with creating a false public alarm.

The pastor involved, Ed Hawkins, commented to TAP, "Thankfully the report turned out to be unfounded. Please join us in prayers of thanks that everyone is safe, prayers of thanks for the quick and professional response of multiple law enforcement agencies, and prayers for  the person or persons who initiated the incident. We are all very, very grateful to the first responders who arrived immediately and did an outstanding job taking care of the situation. Again, we are so grateful and offer prayers of thanksgiving that it was completely unfounded."

Briggs went on to say that DeYoung is in custody. He will have an arraignment date on Tuesday and then the case will then be sent to Passaic County Superior Court.

“Fortunately no one from our church community was involved in initiating the law enforcement response, nor was anyone from our church in any danger, " the pastor added. 

6 Walnut Street, Little Falls  Credit: Google Maps

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