Police raid ends N.J. hostage standoff

Gerald “Skip” Murphy was killed by a police officer.
Gerald “Skip” Murphy was killed by a police officer.

TRENTON, N.J. — Police stormed a New Jersey home early Sunday and fatally shot a registered sex offender who had held his girlfriend’s three children hostage, ending their 37-hour ordeal and recovering the bodies of the captives’ mother and another sibling, authorities said.

Officers initially went to the South Trenton home Friday afternoon after a relative of 44-year-old Carmelita Stevens said she hadn’t spoken to her in weeks and was worried, authorities said at a news conference.

Police found Gerald ‘‘Skip’’ Murphy, 38, in an upstairs bedroom and he told them he was armed with a gun and explosives and had three children with him, Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph L. Bocchini Jr. said.


Officers noticed one dead victim before they retreated from the second floor and rescued Stevens’s 19-year-old son from the basement.

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A SWAT team was called, and an bomb unit was also on the scene. Police said Murphy could be seen from a window holding a black handgun.

Police remained in contact with Murphy throughout the standoff, state police Colonel Rick Fuentes said.

As the standoff stretched into a third day, officers entered the home around 3:45 a.m. Sunday after noting Murphy’s ‘‘deteriorating state of mind,’’ Fuentes said. An officer shot Murphy because he was threatening one of the children, he said.

Authorities wouldn’t comment on a possible motive or say how the victims died, citing the ongoing investigation.


Police found the bodies of Stevens and her 13-year-old son in separate bedrooms. The hostages, an 18-year-old woman, a 16-year-old girl, and a 4-year-old boy, were taken to a medical center for evaluation.

Associated Press