Wildwood altercation leads to death, assailant charged for drug possession

WILDWOOD, NJ – On January 9, 2021, at approximately 12:15 PM, the Wildwood Police Department received 911 calls reporting a subject not breathing inside a residence in the 200 block of East Garfield Avenue within the City of Wildwood. Upon arrival, police and fire personnel located the victim, a 49-year-old male, unconscious and unresponsive. Life saving measures were initiated, however the victim was ultimately determined to be deceased.

During the ensuing investigation conducted by the Wildwood Police Department Detective Division and Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office, it was learned that prior to collapsing, the victim was engaged in a physical altercation with a subject who remained on scene. This subject, identified as Jason Popplewell, 35, of Wildwood, was detained as a part of the investigation and transported to Wildwood Police Department Headquarters.

While in custody, Popplewell was found to possess a spring-loaded folding knife as well as distribution quantities of suspected heroin, which he attempted to discard while at police headquarters.
Popplewell was charged with Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purpose (3rd degree), Certain Person Not to Possess a Weapon (4th degree), Obstruction (4th degree), Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substance (Heroin) (3rd degree), Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substance (Heroin) with the Intent to Distribute (3rd degree), and Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substance (Heroin) with the Intent to Distribute within 500-feet of a Certain Public Place (2nd degree). He was lodged in the Cape May County Correctional Center in accordance with New Jersey Criminal Justice Reform guidelines.

Any charges are merely accusations and the Defendant is presumed innocent until and unless he is proven guilty.
While the death investigation is ongoing, it should be noted that there is no current threat to public safety.