‘God told me to do it’: Police detail unprompted statement from NJ murder suspect

New Jersey
Elmwood Park death barricaded suspect police response

Police on the scene in Elmwood Park, New Jersey after a man barricaded himself in a home where police later found another person dead, officials said on Oct. 19, 2021. (Credit: PIX11)

ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. — The alleged attacker facing murder charges in the death of 81-year-old man spontaneously told authorities that “God told me to do it,” according to records from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office.

The Elmwood Park Police Department was initially called to a residence on Beechwood Avenue after being alerted that a man was barricaded inside with a handgun. The caller also indicated that an 81-year-old man was unconscious inside of that home, according to police records.

At about 10:20 a.m. Tuesday, Jason Vicari, 21, exited the household and was placed in custody without incident. When a SWAT team member asked him if anyone else was inside the home, he replied “not anyone alive,” according to records.

Later, a Bergen County Regional SWAT Team member said he heard Jason Vicari say “God told me to do it,” from the back of the ambulance he was sitting in.

Authorities found 81-year-old Ronald Vicari dead inside the Elmwood Park residence with the head of an ax located nearby, according to records.

While in custody, Jason Vicari said that he believed the victim, his grandfather, was a monster and that “God told him he would have to change his religion.”

Neighbors in the normally quiet suburban New Jersey town were left shocked and shaken following the incident Tuesday.

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

Jason Vicari is facing charges, including first-degree murder.

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