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Alleged Attacker Near Hospital Surrenders After Standoff

54-year-old man barricaded himself inside Livingston home after alleged incident in Morristown.

A man who allegedly assaulted his estranged wife near Morristown Medical Center Friday afternoon surrendered to police after a two and a half hour standoff in his Livingston home, authorities said.

According to Morristown Police, Donald Ebert, 54, struck his wife with the butt end of a gun near the hospital at about noon. Ebert fled the scene, causing lockdowns at several area schools.

Authorities located Ebert late Friday afternoon at a Wynnewood Road home in Livingston, where he hid inside, closed the shades and pushed heavy items against the door and windows, Livingston Police Sgt. Anthony Dippold said. 

"We responded to the house and there was no sign of him there ... we saw him inside the home through the window," Dippold said. 

"We believe he is armed," he said.

Police attempted to negotiate with Ebert for two and a half hours, until he finally agreed to surrender, Dippold said. 

"He surrendered to us, through a negotiator over the telephone," Dippold said. 

Livingston, Madison and Florham Park Police lined the typically quiet, tree-lined suburban street along with SWAT teams from Livingston and Florham Park, Dippold said. 

At approximately 6 p.m., after Dippold agreed to surrender, authorities walked around the back of the two-story house and were heard shouting, "Drop to your knees."

Dippold said Ebert is now in the custody of Livingston police, but all charges will be handled by Morristown authorities. 

Earlier in the afternoon, Livingston's Heritage Middle School, located a few blocks away, increased police presence during dismissal as a security precaution, a school spokeswoman said. An email blast to parents was also sent out.

"There is absolutely no threat to students. Because of the proximity to Heritage Middle School and the partial closure of Wynnewood Road, we will have police presence and additional faculty at Heritage and Foxcroft Drive to direct traffic and students," Marilyn Joyce Lehren, communications manager of the school district, said. "School and District officials are working closely with Livingston Police to ensure that all students are safe as they leave school this afternoon."

Ebert was described as armed, dangerous and possibly suicidal, according to Morristown Police Chief Peter Demnitz. He had been believed to be driving a white 2012 Ford Fusion.

David Shulkin, president of Morristown Medical Center, released a statement shortly before 2 p.m. Friday letting people know the hospital was working closely with the Morristown Police Department and Morris County Prosecutor's Office "as they investigate an assault on a woman who entered through the hospital's main entrance.

"There was no shooting as previously reported," Shulkin said, referring to early unsubstantiated reports. "The alleged assault did not occur on the hospital campus. For the victim's protection, the Emergency Department has an increased police presence. Morristown Medical Center remains open for patient care."

Meanwhile, Hanover Park High School in East Hanover was temporarily locked down as a precautionary measure related to the incident, East Hanover Police Lt. Robert McColgan said, because a vehicle involved in the incident had been believed to be in the area, but there was never any indication the vehicle had been headed for the high school.

In Madison, all schools were locked down shortly before 2 p.m. in connection to the incident and were expected to be closed for the rest of the day.

Morris School District schools remained open after consulting with the Morristown Police Department regarding the incident, a district official said.

 

 

Patch Local Editors Carolyn Maynard-Parisi, Marcia Worth and Mike D'Onofrio contributed to this story. 

OIN 24 February 02, 2013 at 01:07 AM
Nice work all involved. We all go home safely. These are the type of calls no-one looks forward to. Stay safe out there.
Reduce Gun Violence February 02, 2013 at 02:01 AM
Thank goodness this person only smacked his victim with his gun - imagine how many victims there could have been if he had used bullets. We are better than this! https://www.facebook.com/CommunityCommitteeAgainstGunViolence
Mayor Ed February 02, 2013 at 04:05 AM
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/world/55742445-68/shooting-atlanta-police-says.html.csp
Reduce Gun Violence February 02, 2013 at 01:39 PM
Ed, stories like the Atlanta one you shared have had a sadder ending in the past - where the gunman shoots the "armed guard" and grabs an additional weapon to use on innocent victims. More guns = more victims. There's got to be a better way, as this Police Chief explains: http://morristowngreen.com/2013/01/18/video-morristown-police-chief-on-gun-control-and-how-to-survive-mass-shootings/
Scotty 911 February 03, 2013 at 03:57 AM
Reduce Gun Violence, so I'm guessing you don't own a weapon? Just out of curiosity what is your home address?
SockPuppet February 04, 2013 at 04:32 PM
A not so veiled threat; you must be very proud of yourself.
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