The Attorney General’s Office is investigating an incident that took place on Dec. 27, 2010 at a hotel in Clifton, N.J., during which a man allegedly slashed a police officer in the face with a knife, and two other officers fired their service weapons at the man. The man, who was not hit by the gunfire, later stabbed himself in the chest during a subsequent encounter with police at the hotel.
The man who allegedly slashed the officer has been identified as Antwan Whitlock, 35, of Union Township, N.J. He has been charged with second-degree aggravated assault, third-degree aggravated assault, third-degree resisting arrest, and third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
According to the preliminary investigation, three officers from the Clifton Police Department responded at approximately 5:18 a.m. to a report of an individual in mental health crisis at the Howard Johnson Inn on Route 3 West. They proceeded to a room on the fourth floor where the man, later identified as Antwan Whitlock, was staying. They attempted to communicate with Mr. Whitlock through the closed door of the room and eventually forced entry into the room. Once the door was open, the officers had a brief interaction at the doorway with Mr. Whitlock, who was armed with two knives. Mr. Whitlock allegedly slashed one officer in the face as he exited the room into the hallway, at which time Sgt. David Roe and Officer Kevin Berdnik of the Clifton Police Department fired their 9mm service weapons in his direction. Mr. Whitlock ran down the hall and through a fire door; he remained in that area of the hotel, armed with the two knives.
The Passaic County SWAT Team responded to the hotel and located Mr. Whitlock in the fourth floor hallway. Shortly after 7 a.m., a SWAT team member, Officer Joseph DeGroot, fired a Taser at Mr. Whitlock, who then stabbed himself in the chest with a knife. Emergency medical treatment was rendered at the hotel and Mr. Whitlock was transported to St. Joseph’s University Medical Center, where he underwent surgery and remains hospitalized. The officer who sustained a knife wound to his face was also treated at St. Joseph’s and released.
The investigation is ongoing and no further information is being released at this time.