A SWAT-team standoff ended Saturday night in Carlstadt when a sex offender who’d killed a woman he was involved with shot himself dead, authorities said.
James Cox, 44, was suspected in the woman’s disappearance when police went to his home before noon.
“We’re pretty sure he [killed her] sometime last night, before any of this came about today,” one investigator said.
After hours of negotiation, a Bergen County Regional SWAT Team began firing tear gas into the 6th Street home where Cox lived with his elderly parents.
Around 8 p.m., members of the tactical team burst in.
“As soon as they made entry, they heard a single gunshot,” the investigator told Daily Voice.
The woman, with whom Cox has a 4-year-old child, had gotten an order of protection against Cox, those familiar with the situation said.
Mahwah police who went to the woman’s home off Franklin Turnpike near Route 17 early Saturday found her cellphone outside, multiple law enforcement sources told Daily Voice.
Carlstadt police then went to the Cox family’s 6th Street home before noon, they said.
That’s when things got hairy.
Cox pulled a gun and pointed it at himself, several sources confirmed.
Officers got Cox’s elderly parents safely out of the house and called for reinforcements, they said.
Carlstadt police also urged all residents on 6th and 7th streets between Division and Passaic avenues to shelter in place.
Cox’s brother, an off-duty borough police sergeant, went to the home to try and talk with him, a neighbor said.
Police Chief Thomas Berta also brought attorney Richard Potter of Hackensack. Potter had recently represented Cox, apparently for parole violation hearings, based on court records.
Cox was working as a security guard when he kidnapped his then-ex-girlfriend at knifepoint from her Parsippany home in July 2000, authorities said at the time.
He drove the 20-year-old victim around for hours in a Chevy Blazer — repeatedly asking her why she broke up with him – before raping her behind an industrial building in Carlstadt, they said.
Cox forced the victim back into the Blazer, but she jumped out while it was moving and fled to her nearby home. She was later treated for a slash wound on her chest.
Cox took a deal from prosecutors rather than go to trial, pleading guilty to first-degree aggravated sexual assault.
He was sentenced to nine years in state prison, more than seven of which Cox served before he was paroled. The judge also sentenced him to five years of supervised release and lifetime registration as a Megan’s Law Tier 2 offender, records show.
After several failed attempts at engaging Cox on Saturday, Carlstadt Police Officer Jason Columbo got him talking.
Cox asked for something to eat, so someone ran to McDonald’s.
Meanwhile, concern for the woman’s welfare continued.
A K-9 unit was brought in to try and track a scent.
Finally, around 6:30 p.m., the order to enter the residence was given. Authorities “needed to know whether [the woman] was in there,” a law enforcement official told Daily Voice.
It began with several rounds of tear gas, neighbors said. Several more followed — somewhere between a dozen and 16 in all — they said.
Around 8 p.m., the SWAT team burst in.
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