UPDATE — Suspect has additionally been charged with first-degree attempted murder.
An innocent morning of shopping for many turned into a day of great angst at the Kearny Walmart after two men got into a fight at the electronics department and it all led to one man being stabbed with a machete in the neck by the other agitator, the Kearny Police Department said.
And within 12 hours of the incident, the man responsible for the stabbing, who fled before police could catch him, was behind bars, thanks to the tremendous work of the Kearny Police Department, most especially the Detective Bureau.
According to Kearny PD Chief George King and Public Information Officer Capt. Timothy Wagner, it all began at around 10:30 a.m., Friday, Sept. 24, as the two were reportedly waiting in line, socially distanced and not in the same party, in the rear of the store. (The electronics department has a separate cash register for checking out.)
It was not immediately clear why, but supposedly the two began to engage in fisticuffs.
As it was all happening, the suspect, later identified as Roberto Delgado-Gonzalez, 29, of Newark, reportedly pulled, from his pants, what appears to be at least a 2-foot long machete, which he used to stab the victim in the neck and back of his head.
A video taken by another customer — and still images taken from that video — show the victim, a 43-year-old Kearny man — covered in blood about his head and face. Blood could also be seen, from another video, spattered on the store’s floor in and around the electronics department.
King tells The Observer the Kearny PD’s initial call was of a shooting at the Walmart, but that turned out to be a false report. When the officers sent to the scene — and there were many there, as well as reps from the Kearny Fire Department and EMS — arrived, the suspect had fled, we’d later learn, to Newark.
Detective spent a good chunk of the day tracking down Delgado-Gonzalez, and they collared him across the Passaic River later that night.
“Our detectives did a great job and identified the actor responsible for the machete attack,” King said Saturday morning, Sept. 25. “Last night at around 10:30 p.m., they went to Newark, located his vehicle and made an arrest without further incident. We arrested Roberto Delgado-Gonzalez, a 29-year-old male from South Orange Avenue in Newark.
“He was processed for aggravated assault and weapons offenses and was remanded to the Hudson County Jail. Delgado-Gonzalez is also wanted for aggravated assault from the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office and has open warrants from multiple other jurisdictions.
“From the initial responding officers to the follow-up investigation from the Detective Bureau, all of our officers did an exceptional job with this incident. We were dealing with an unstable and violent individual who was most likely armed, and our officers were able to take him into custody without incident or injury to anyone.
“While we always want to deter and prevent crime, it should be reassuring to the residents that when a crime does occur, we quickly and professionally respond, follow-up and bring the responsible parties to justice.”
The situation drew the attention of the New York City media, and was the lead story on several stations for the 5, 6, 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts Sept. 24 and again Saturday morning, Sept. 25.
The victim’s injuries were not life-threatening and it is believed he was treated and released from Newark’s University Hospital.
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.