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Fanwood Man Charged With Shooting Neighbor's Fence

Fanwood resident John Stewart faces numerous weapons charges allegedly firing an assault weapon towards a neighbor's fence from his Coriell home.

Fanwood resident John M. Stewart, 41, has been charged with numerous weapons charges and endangering the public after he allegedly fired six rounds at a neighbor’s fence from his Coriell Avenue home.

Fanwood Police Chief Richard Trigo stated that at 8:35 p.m. on Wednesday night, Fanwood Police responded to numerous 911 calls reporting shots fired. He added that nobody was injured.

“Upon arriving at the scene, Fanwood Police witnessed the defendant exiting his residence. After a brief scuffle, he was placed under arrest," Trigo said. "A short time later, backup officers from the Scotch Plains Police Department arrived to assist Fanwood Police in creating a secure perimeter around the house. Fanwood police entered the residence and located the assault weapon within the house.”

Trigo stated that the shots were fired from an upstairs window. Police are continuing to investigate the case, which Trigo said is being treated as an isolated incident with no intended target.

The Union County Sheriff’s Department identification unit assisted with the crime scene investigation. All six rounds fired were recovered by Fanwood Police. The assault weapon used was unregistered.

Stewart was arrested at the scene and taken to the Union County Jail, where Superior Court Judge Stuart Peim set bail at $56,000. Trigo noted that the last time shots were fired in Fanwood was in when Thomas Sweeney, 81, and his wife, Carolyn were killed in a murder-suicide. That crime took place directly across the street from John Stewart's Coriell residence, Trigo said. 

Anyone with information or questions regarding this case is urged to contact Chief Trigo at (908) 322-5000 ext. 115 or 116.

geoeag April 05, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Wow he unloaded an illegal weapon into the fence randomly and his bail is a 56K ? I pay 12k for taxes here I hope it doesn't go to his public defender!
geoeag April 05, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Also glad the nut didn't hurt anyone.
Jennifer April 07, 2012 at 12:45 AM
I moved from Newark to Fanwood to get away from such craziness and apparently its everywhere. Ughhh!!
Jets/Mets/It_Hurts April 07, 2012 at 01:38 AM
Jennifer, I have lived in this town for 30 years. This is a beautiful place to live. I apologize for how this idiot acted. I promise you 99.99999999% are great people and hard working. Please don’t let this idiotic moronic self-depressive persona change your opinion of Fanwood!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
MyKidsRmyLife April 07, 2012 at 03:10 AM
I totally agree with "Jets/Mets"! I'm 32 and grew up in Scotch Plains/Fanwood and didn't venture off until I was 24. The town is nothing compared to Newark...no comparison what so ever!!! Its a great town...may have 1 or 2 nuts, but overall a joyful place to live and raise children.
Gold April 07, 2012 at 04:58 AM
I reside at the house that the shots were fired at (next door). I have two young daughters and it was the most frightening experience. I have lived here on Coriell for 7 years and never felt any kind of fear... until that fateful night. Thank goodness we were not hurt, but it's a scary thought on how things could have turned out. The man that fired the shots is a "broken man". A man that drank too much and perhaps was mad at the world. It is unfortunate that this happened in such a lovely town. We had such a peaceful and neighborly street. My girls love it here.... but now are fearful. I deeply hope he will get the help he needs so this will never happen again. For now I am glad he has been taken away for his safety and more importantly for our town's safety. Thank you to Cheif Richard Trigo and the rest of the Fanwood-Scotch Plains Police Officers who responded so quickly and were diligent in resolving this terrible matter.
Emily Everson April 07, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Thank you for sharing your story. I am deeply sorry that your family had to go through this and I hope that the days to come bring you healing and peace.
bgporter April 07, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Just checking Jets/Mets' arithmetic. If we assume that Mr Stewart is the only person about to go nutso like that, based on the 2010 census numbers (giving a population of 7318), that should be 7317/7318 = 99.98633% Approximately.
FormerFanwoodian April 08, 2012 at 12:06 AM
Following the logic/train of thought used by SCOTUS in Plessy v Ferguson, I mean Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders, I would think that the Fanwood Police would have the right under the Constitution to stop each car entering Fanwood, search it contents and persons contained therein to ensure the security of all Fanwoodians. Pursuant to individuals believing his/her rights as a citizen are being violated. please note the comments made by Justice Thomas per the Black defendent Albert Florence. Oh Justice Thomas hasn't said anything in over six years? But when he last did speak, it was about a Black's civil rights being violated. Hey, I'm glad no person nor pet was hurt, but stuff like what Mr Steward did happens. You can't protect yourself even 99.98633%; you can only hope that the authorites can respond reasonably and well. So enjoy the scanners and being gropped at the airport.

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