‘God rest the man’s soul’: Neighbors shocked after 81-year-old found dead in NJ home

New Jersey

ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. — Neighbors in a normally quiet suburban New Jersey town were left shocked and shaken on Tuesday after an incident involving an individual who barricaded himself in a home.

Police swarmed the area around Beechwood Avenue in Elmwood Park around 9:30 a.m. after someone called 911, according to the Bergen County prosecutor’s office.

Investigators said they’ll be on the scene into the night Tuesday at a home here where a standoff with a suspect ultimately led to him surrendering, and led to officers making a gruesome find. They confirmed that an 81 year-old relative of the suspect was found dead in the home on Beechwood Avenue.

Neighbor Quran Farrar said the police presence was a stark change for the normally quiet town located about a half-hour west of Manhattan.

“I thought that a tree had fallen or something like that. They’ve got the street blocked off,” Farrar told PIX11 News.

Unfortunately, the situation appeared to be far more sinister. 

After the SWAT team and police arrived in force, the individual surrendered around 10:20 a.m. When officers went inside, they discovered the body of 81-year-old Ronald Vicari.

Neighbors said Vicari served on some community planning boards.

Police told PIX11 News they’re questioning a younger resident of the home, who neighbors said is Vicari’s grandson.

Resident Darlene Westervelt was stunned by the news.

“This is totally — I’ve lived here my whole life, more than 60 years, and never, ever has something like this happened,” she said. “God rest the man’s soul, you know? I feel very bad for his family, and everything going on.”

She and other neighbors said that they remained numb over what had happened.

Vendetta Hammonds, who lives four doors away from the house where Vicari’s body was found, said she was “very shocked about that, yes, very.” 

Westervelt, her neighbor, said that now the whole neighborhood will try to make sense of what happened.  Investigators, meanwhile, continue to interview the suspect.

“Scary,” Westervelt said.  “Just goes to show you, you could be the sweetest people in the world, and you just don’t know when people will snap.”

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