A standoff between police and a gunman who took his ex-girlfriend and another woman hostage at a UPS facility in Gloucester County ended after about 3½ hours Monday, when the suspect was fatally shot by law enforcement officers.
The hostages were not harmed in the tense standoff that forced police to close off streets for several hours.
The gunman, identified as William Owens, 39, of Sicklerville, was killed by police during what Gloucester County Prosecutor Charles Fiore described as an “intervention” around noon.
Authorities said the standoff began about 8:45 a.m., when Owens entered the building and fired two shots into the air. Employees told reporters that as he pulled out the handgun, they started running from the building.
A massive law enforcement response followed after the initial emergency call reported that an “active shooter” was in the building. Local schools were placed on lockdown, and UPS employees at the facility in an industrial complex on Birch Creek Road in Logan Township were evacuated and taken by school buses to a nearby hotel.
With the two women being held, Fiore said, hostage negotiators spoke with Owens by telephone in an attempt to resolve the situation peacefully. When Owens left the building with the women, “multiple members of law enforcement" fired at him, according to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, which investigates all fatal police shootings.
Earlier in the day, officials stressed that the situation was contained to the UPS building and that other workers at the industrial park were not in danger. UPS described the site as a supply-chain-processing facility.
During the morning rush hour, a television news helicopter video showed a SWAT team, armored car, and officers crouched behind vehicles at a loading dock at the facility.
Logan Township Mayor Frank Minor said there are 18,000 workers at the industrial park and authorities routinely practice for emergency situations.
“We do active shooting training drills all the time,” Minor said. “They were well prepared.”