Home News NJ murder suspect dead by suicide after 7-hour standoff in Toms River

NJ murder suspect dead by suicide after 7-hour standoff in Toms River

A New Jersey murder suspect died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound Friday night, after a tense standoff with police in Toms River that lasted nearly seven hours.

Maxwell Johnston, 35, of Manchester, was at a home on the 1900 block of Ravenwood Drive when police arrived to execute a warrant for his arrest, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office said in a press release.

He was wanted for the murder of 25-year-old mother Gabriella Caroleo, of Seaside Heights, who was killed in Manchester Township on June 27. Caroleo had been found with a gunshot wound to the stomach and later died at an area hospital.

Dozens of local and county law enforcement officers, including a SWAT team, surrounded the home early Friday afternoon. Neighbors in the surrounding area were evacuated as a precaution amid what was described at the time as an “active shooter situation.”

Authorities said shots were fired at police multiple times during the hours-long barricade situation.

The standoff escalated around 6:30 p.m., when an armored vehicle appeared ready to ram through the front of the home, according to the Asbury Park Press.

Roughly 45 minutes later, a woman emerged from the residence with her hands raised, and officers swiftly escorted her away. Neither the woman’s identity nor her connection to the suspect was publicly shared.

At around 7:45 p.m., stun grenades were deployed into the home, the APP reported. SWAT officers then entered the residence and confirmed Johnston’s death by suicide.

Johnston, a career criminal, had previously racked up at least four convictions on gun and drug-related charges between 2009 and 2015. He was released from prison in 2022 after spending nearly seven years behind bars, but was jailed again last August and released in December, according to the APP.

Following Friday’s incident, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer released a statement, saying, “I’d like to commend the men and women in law enforcement that spent the day trying to bring this situation to a peaceful resolution. [They] handled themselves professionally and thankfully none of them were injured.”


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