Trial looms for Marlton man who allegedly fired at police officer
The Marlton man who allegedly shot at an Evesham cop who was checking on his well-being in May appears headed for trial on charges related to the incident.
A Burlington County grand jury in Mount Holly indicted Jeffrey R. Wass, 55, on a battery of charges, according to the office of County Prosecutor Scott Coffina. His arraignment is scheduled for October 10.
Wass faces two second-degree counts of possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose; second- and third-degree charges of aggravated assault; a second-degree charge of unlawful possession of a weapon; a third-degree count of certain persons not to have firearms; and a fourth-degree charge of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.
Evesham police officers and firefighters rushed to the Nieuw Amsterdam Apartments on May 24. A maintenance worker reported entering Wass's apartment to trace a natural gas odor, finding Wass unconscious on his couch, and finding the gas burners on his stove open but unlit.
The worker turned off the flow. Public Service Electric and Gas cut off gas and electric service to the entire building until the threat of an explosion was neutralized.
Investigators said that police and Wass communicated on either side of his apartment doorway, but that he warned officers to stay out.
After police phoned his apartment several times with no success, an officer returned to the doorway and loudly told him to answer the call. Wass then fired a gun inside the apartment, authorities allege, initiating a standoff that lasted several hours and was resolved when a New Jersey State Police tactical robot sent images showing Wass incapacitated on his sofa.
At that point, officers entered and apprehended Wass. Police said that they recovered a 9mm pistol during a warrant-authorized search of his apartment.
Information from Coffina's office does not elaborate on whether the bullet and casing were found, and where, what led police to determine that the shot was fired at the officer, or what pre-existing conditions predicated the charge of certain persons not to have firearms.
Charges are accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless, and until, found guilty in a court of law.