The Morris County Sheriff’s Office Warrants Section assisted other law enforcement agencies early Monday in the town of Dover in apprehending one of four suspects wanted for the gunshot slayings of two people in Glassboro on August 19.
“We are really thankful for the support. The people at the Morris County Sheriff’s Office were absolutely great,” said Thomas R. Gilbert, Acting Chief of Detectives for the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office.
The Morris County Sheriff’s Office Warrants Squad was contacted over the weekend by Gloucester County authorities, who had an arrest warrant for a man identified as Daniel P. Hall, 23, who temporarily has been living in Dover.
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon and Bureau of Law Enforcement Undersheriff Mark Spitzer said numerous Sheriff’s Office assets were deployed to Dover early Monday – the K-9 and Warrants Sections, Bomb Squad and Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (SERT) –in the event additional resources were needed during Mr. Hall’s apprehension. The Special Operations Group (SOG), which provides medical support to members of SERT, also was on the scene.
“This morning, the Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (SERT) expertly maintained the perimeter and secured points of possible egress as Sheriff’s Office Detective Corporal Charles Wilfong, of the Warrants Section, accompanied Detectives from the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office, U.S. Marshal’s Service, Dover and Glassboro Police Departments to a location on North Bergen Street in Dover,” said Undersheriff Spitzer.
Mr. Hall was located in a room of the house and taken into custody without incident around 7:30 a.m. on a warrant for two counts each of murder, felony murder, conspiracy to commit murder and robbery and one count each of unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
Sheriff Gannon and Undersheriff Spitzer commended Detective Corporal Wilfong and Detective Lieutenant Michael Turkot, who oversees the Warrants Section, and the other Sheriff’s Officers on scene who were faced with a potentially risky arrest operation.
“I’m proud of the skills and professionalism of all the Sheriff’s Officers involved and pleased we could assist Gloucester County in apprehending a suspect in a horrific double homicide,” Sheriff Gannon said.
The slayings of Manuel DelaRosa Jr., 26, and Shantal Farrow, 36, were discovered on August 19 at 9:16 a.m. by Glassboro Police Department Officers who were conducting a check on the well-being of the men at their residence on Warrick Avenue in Glassboro.
The victims were discovered inside the home, dead from gunshot wounds. Through various investigative techniques and use of technology, authorities identified four men, including Daniel Hall, as suspects in the robbery and murders of the two victims.
Also charged in the homicides are Abdelgadi H. Hassan, 19, of Trenton, Altaifjoe H. Hassan, 23, of Glassboro, and Devon J. Conover, 19, of Trenton.
A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. Despite this accusation, defendants are presumed innocent unless or until they are proven guilty in court.
Morris County, state and federal officials joined families who lost loved-ones due to overdoses and several community organizations today in Parsippany to recognize International Overdose Awareness Day, an annual event observed to reduce the stigma of drug-addiction and the tragedy of drug-related deaths.
The occasion was marked with a freshly planted, weeping cherry tree, dubbed an “Angel Tree Memorial,” dedicated outside the Morris County Addiction Center off Central Avenue. State Senator Anthony Bucco (R-25) opened the dedication ceremony, joined by Freeholder Director Deborah Smith, Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon and U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), along with many county human services officials, health care professionals, counselors and law enforcement personnel who assist people with addictions
“Being present for the dedication of the first Angel Tree Memorial in Morris County gives this grieving mother hope. Honoring my beloved son and angel, Justin, along with all of the angels in Morris
County lost to the drug epidemic — those of us who grieve them, and those who continue to fight for recovery — literally breathes life from that weeping cherry tree into a place where it is desperately needed,” said Rebecca Finnerty of Montville, who spoke at the ceremony about losing her son to a heroin overdose in 2016.
Others stories of overdoses were told by a dozen parents, each bearing large photos of the children they lost to drug addiction – including one woman who lost both a son and daughter.
“Today, we recognize not only the dilemma of addiction and drug overdoses in our society, but also the dedication we all share with health-care providers and law enforcement to stop the insidious nature of addiction in our community,” said Freeholder Director Smith. “The tree we dedicate today is a fitting tribute because it symbolizes life, growth and hope – the hope that our work will one day mean we will not need to gather here in the future to talk about addiction or the lives lost to it.”
The concern over overdose deaths is more poignant this year as recent data from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates drug-related deaths in the United States rose to record levels in 2019 and continue to climb. New Jersey ranks seventh among all 50 states with the highest per-capita rate of deaths due to drug overdose.
“We have lost far too many lives in communities across New Jersey and the country due to opioid abuse and drug overdose,” said Senator Bucco. “This day will serve as a humble reminder across our state of the work that needs to be done to protect innocent lives and raise awareness to the issue that impacts families of every creed. If we as a community come together to better understand, inform, and educate about the scourge of substance abuse and overdose, we can work to find better ways to help the most vulnerable among us and save lives.”
The senator introduced legislation approved by the state Senate and Assembly last week to establish every Aug. 31 as Overdose Awareness
Day in New Jersey. The rise in annual addiction-related deaths has surpassed record annual highs for auto accidents and it is the leading cause for a reduction in the nation’s life expectancy, according to the CDC.
“Morris County is at the forefront of creating programs and partnerships that understand the complexities of drug addiction and how the disease ravages a person’s health, relationships and self-preservation instincts. As the Morris County Sheriff who has made fighting opioid abuse a priority, Overdose Awareness Day is a call-out to keep the stigma-free philosophy and use every resource possible to stop drug abuse and recreational dabbling that too often lead to preventable fatal overdoses,” Sheriff Gannon said.
First recognized in 2001, Overdose Awareness Day is observed throughout the world every Aug. 31. The freeholders established the date as an annual day of observance through a resolution adopted on July 8.
“Planting this weeping cherry tree is a simple, yet meaningful act by which we hope for a new beginning. We launch a new life hoping that those with addictions can overcome their disease and live on. We launch this new life hoping their families, too, avoid the burden of losing a loved one to addiction,” said Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo, the board’s Human Services liaison.
The CDC issued a preliminary report in July indicating nearly 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2019, marking a sharp increase over 2018, when the nation had been experiencing a decrease.
“On International Overdose Awareness Day we honor those lost. Every day that we advocate for those actively using and those with substance use disorders, we have those that we have lost on our heart,” said Kelly Labar, Peer Recovery Specialist at the Center for Addiction Recovery Education & Success.
NJ Cares, also known as the state Office of the New Jersey Coordinator for Addiction Responses and Enforcement Strategies, reported 1,595 suspected drug-related deaths in the state as of June 30. That puts the state on a pace to equal or exceed the 3,021 drug-related deaths the agency counted in 2019.
“The heroin and opioid epidemic continues to be a scourge on the residents of New Jersey. The Narcan program in Morris County is a critical component to our multidisciplinary approach in combating this epidemic. Other components include a strong focus on public education and Operation Helping Hand, a cooperative law enforcement initiative where substance use treatment is offered to those arrested for possessory drug offenses, for those determined to be eligible,” said Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp. “The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office will continue to collaborate with our law enforcement and non-profit partners to save lives and connect those struggling with substance use to treatment resources immediately after overdoses are reversed.”
In Morris County, NJ Cares counted 89 drug-related deaths in 2018 and 86 for 2019. So far this year, 54 deaths have been registered in Morris County.
Morris County has been a leading force in combatting addiction, adopting a Stigma Free policy years ago while launching multiple programs to deal with the rising phenomenon of drug overdoses through the Morris County Department of Human Services, the Mental Health Association of Morris County, the Community Outreach and Planning Section in the Sheriff’s Office, Morris County Prevention is Key and their Center for Addiction Recovery Education and Success.
The Morris County Addiction Recovery Response Team and the Morris County Sheriff’s Hope One Mobile Response Unit were launched in 2017, with the ARRT offering peer-recovery support to overdose survivors in hospital emergency departments and follow-up counseling. The Hope One outreach program, which is a mobile recovery access center, travels throughout Morris County to provide critical support to people struggling with addiction to prevent overdoses and deaths.
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon gave members of the Yonkers, New York, Police Department and a Westchester County, New York, Mental Health advocate an overview of his award-winning Hope One mobile outreach program on Monday as the visitors explore ways to lessen opioid addiction in their jurisdiction.
Like other parts of the country, Yonkers, N.Y. – the fourth most populated city in New York State – is experiencing an opioid crisis and has concentrated areas where homeless individuals gather.
In search of innovative solutions, Yonkers Police Department Captain Thomas Ward, Yonkers Police Officer Jim McGartland and Mark Giuliano, a Westchester County Community Mental Health adult program services director, visited the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Hope One team on its Monday stop outside Nourish, a soup kitchen in Morristown.
“We are out in the community at least twice a week offering free Narcan training and bringing essential addiction and mental health resources and guidance to people who may be utterly without support or insight into where to turn for help,” Sheriff Gannon said.
Captain Ward said the Yonkers Police Department has a program called HEART, for Heroin Enforcement And Response Team, that focuses on enforcement, education and outreach, and offering individuals assistance if they have been revived from an overdose with Narcan.
But the city would like to do more, be more proactive to curb opioid addiction and offer services to individuals with mental health disorders and homelessness, Captain Ward said.
“We’ve been going out and dealing with people with mental health issues but we don’t have anything to offer them or the homeless. We were really just dealing with the heroin issue and there’s so many other elements. The beauty of the Hope One program that gets me excited is the combination of its services,” Captain Ward said.
As passersby stopped by the Hope One vehicle to collect brochures and receive Narcan training, Sheriff Gannon offered the Yonkers team program statistics and how Hope One was launched on April 3, 2017, through a partnership between the Morris County Sheriff’s Office and the Center for Addiction Recovery, Education & Success (CARES), the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris, Daytop-NJ, and the Morris County Department of Human Services.
Multiple other cities and counties have created Hope One programs modeled after the Morris County Sheriff’s Office initiative, including the city of Newark, Cape May, Atlantic, Burlington and Monmouth counties. Hudson County also has requested information about the Morris County program.
Hope One, as of Friday, had surpassed 13,000 community contacts. The team has trained 2,708 people in the use of Narcan to reverse an overdose, assisted 184 people in accessing rehab and recovery programs and another 146 people with obtaining mental health services.
At least 45 lives have been saved by people who received Narcan training by the Hope One team and subsequently used their Narcan kit to reverse an overdose.