BRIDGEWATER, NJ - A Bridgewater man has been charged with firearms possession and aggravated assault following a standoff Monday night after shots were fired from a garage on Country Club Road, according to a report from Somerset County Prosecutor Michael Robertson.
Donald G. Shaffer, 61, was charged with second-degree possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose, third degree endangering another person, fourth degree aggravated assault and disorderly persons assault in the incident.
Robertson said Bridgewater Township Police responded to a 911 call to a home on Country Club Road Dec. 2 at 4:35 p.m. for a welfare check report that escalated to a shots fired call. A resident of the home, Robertson said, called police to say that Shaffer was in the attached garage and had access to multiple weapons.
Police arrived at the scene, Robertson said, and heard a series of gun shots coming from the garage. They evacuated three people in the home (ages 38, 3, and 8 months) safely and then established a tactical perimeter around the home, while also requesting aid from surrounding Somerset County police departments and New Jersey State Police.
In addition, the Somerset County SWAT team was activated, along with County Crisis Negotiators and FBI Crisis Negotiators.
At about 6:25 p.m., Robertson said, Shaffer came out of the garage and was placed into custody by SWAT officers without incident. He was unarmed when he was taken into custody.
An investigation by Bridgewater Township Police, in conjunction with the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office Major Crimes Unit and the Crime Scene Investigations Unit, found that Shaffer had fired several rounds in the confines of the garage. Two of those shots penetrated a garage door, and came in close proximity of one of the initial responding Bridgewater Township Police officers.
Police executed a Superior Court ordered search warrant, and found a revolver, a semi-automatic handgun, a shotgun and an AR-15 rifle, along with about 2,000 rounds of ammunition.
Shaffer was taken to an area hospital for medical evaluation under police guard. Once he is released from the medical facility, he will be taken to Somerset County Jail pending a detention hearing.
Robertson commended the initial responding Bridgewater police officers for their quick actions, along with the rapid law enforcement response, which resulted in the safe surrender of the suspect, and no injuries to anyone involved.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Bridgewater Township Police Department at 908-722-4111, the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office Major Crimes Unit at 908-231-7100 or use the STOPit app with access code SOMERSETNJ. Information can also be provided through the Somerset County Crime Stoppers' Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS, and all calls will be kept confidential.