A New Jersey neighborhood was put on lockdown for nearly 24 hours over a standoff between a SWAT team and a man with a flamethrower who refused to surrender.
The tense standoff began Tuesday afternoon, when a man living on Thomas Avenue in Lyndhurst had an arsenal of weapons, including a flamethrower, according to police.
Ali Haider, who was ordered to vacate his home on Tuesday, said he had seen the suspect, Robert Condit, a few times.
“He always says hello, he’s very friendly,” Haider said.
But Lyndhurst police said 51-year-old Condit was far from friendly with officers when they went to his home to enforce a court order to seize weapons from the home. They said Condit was legally in possession of some of the weapons found in the house.
The police were able to escort Condit’s grandmother and mother safely out of the house, but then he barricaded himself inside.
The Bergen County regional SWAT team and the FBI were soon called in. A video circulating on social media shows someone firing a flamethrower at the police.
Police launched gas cylinders into the house at night and kept in touch with Condit’s mother. Then came the news that Lyndhurst neighbors and police were hoping for: He surrendered.
“After 9pm, he realized this was the best course of action for him,” said Lyndhurst police captain Michael Carrino.
The standoff ended in the best possible way – without injuries or shots. But it was still something the quiet Bergen County neighborhood isn’t used to seeing in the distance.
“It’s reassuring to know that police and SWAT teams can handle such situations in a way that nobody gets hurt,” Haider said.
Police said Condit has no criminal history, adding that he is undergoing a medical evaluation at a nearby hospital and will be charged.