Knife-wielding suspect charged after threatening women, children at Weequahic Park

NEWARK, NJ – Newark Public Safety Director Brian A. O’Hara reports the arrest of Marcelino Canterero, 46, of Newark, for threatening bystanders at Weequahic Park Wednesday night.

“I commend Officers Nice and Adams for exercising appropriate restraint and applying minimum force during this imminent threat to the safety of families at Weequahic Park,” Director O’Hara said. “Although the suspect was wielding a knife and a large pry bar in the midst of a community event where children were present, these officers were able to successfully use their de-escalation training, including verbal commands, maintaining a safe distance and calling in additional resources, to safely make the arrest without causing any injury to the suspect.”

At approximately 9:45 p.m., Newark police patrolling Elizabeth Avenue were alerted to an incident at an event inside Weequahic Park. Multiple individuals reported that a man with a knife was in the crowd of families attending a community Movie Night.

A woman directed police to the suspect, who was in an area where several adults and children were running away from him. Officers observed Canterero, holding the knife and pry bar and immediately ordered bystanders to evacuate the park. The officers also drew their service weapons due to the threat of injury he posed to the families inside the park. The officers used an orange construction barrel as a personal protection shield and as a means of causing the suspect to drop his weapons.

Because he continued to hold the knife and pry bar, officers deployed OC spray and finally gained his compliance. Canterero was arrested without further incident. He faces charges of unlawful possession of weapon, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

“We train our police officers to place the utmost value on the sanctity of life, and to use time and distance as a means of tactically de-escalating potentially fatal encounters,” Director O’Hara added. “I am extremely pleased that yet again Newark officers rose to the occasion by slowing the situation down and employing less-lethal methods to safely bring this person into custody. Newark continues to challenge conventional thinking about how police handle highly volatile situations.”

These charges are merely accusations. The suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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