Secaucus Hotel Evacuated During Armed Standoff on Sunday

Photo Credit:  Secaucus Police Dept.

On Sunday, March 14, the Secaucus Police Department received a “tip” that Rahim Harris was a wanted fugitive and staying at the Extended Stay Hotel, located at 1 Plaza Drive in Secaucus.  According to Chief Dennis Miller, Harris had outstanding warrants for his arrest from the Essex County Sheriff’s Office for a Weapons Offense, Newark Police Department for Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, Unlawful Possession of a Handgun and Aggravated Assault for Pointing a Firearm at Another, and a Pennsylvania warrant from the Luzerne County Sheriff’s Office for Failure to Appear.      

After the “tip” was independently corroborated, members of the Secaucus Police Department and the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office set up a perimeter around the hotel.  Also, the Hudson County Regional SWAT Team was mobilized along with the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team.  Upon the arrival of the SWAT Team, a controlled evacuation of the rooms surrounding Harris’ hotel room was conducted.

At approximately 7:09 last night, telephone contact was made with a female within the room, later identified as Haneefha S. White.   White refused to exit the room and negotiators from the Hudson County Regional SWAT Team were called in.  During the negotiations with White and Harris, they alleged they were in possession of firearms and at least one hand grenade and expressed their desire for a violent confrontation with police.  Due to the inherent danger of potential explosives, a full evacuation of the Extended Stay Hotel was undertaken and the Jersey City Police Department’s Bomb Squad responded.  Evacuees were transported by a New Jersey Transit bus to other nearby hotels.

At approximately 1:56 A.M., White surrendered to police, without police resorting to any force.  Negotiations continued with Harris who surrendered to police at 2:29 A.M., also without police resorting any force.   During a search of the room, the Jersey City Police Department’s Bomb Squad located one hand grenade that was determined to be inert.

During a complete search of the hotel room, the following weapons were recovered: .223 caliber, American Tactical Milisport, semi-automatic rifle loaded with 30 rounds, stolen .357 caliber Glock Model 32 semi-automatic handgun loaded with 22 rounds, loaded .40 caliber Smith and Wesson SD40VE semi-automatic handgun, 5.7 caliber FN Herstal model 57 semi-automatic handgun loaded with 20 armor piercing rounds, loaded .380 caliber Taurus Model PT738 semi-automatic handgun, .223 caliber Sig Saur Rattler semi-automatic rifle loaded with a 60 round “drum” magazine, loaded 12 gauge Mossberg Model 500 pump action shotgun and a loaded .410 Gauge American Tactical, Omni-Hybrid semi-automatic rifle.   Additionally, $36,910.00 in cash was seized.   White was found in possession of suspected pills of ecstasy and fraudulent driver’s licenses from Delaware and Florida.

“Due to patience, restraint and professionalism of every law enforcement officer who responded to this incident, it was brought to a safe conclusion without any injury or any force being used,” Chief Dennis Miller said. “I would like to personally thank the Hudson County Regional SWAT Team, the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, Jersey City Police Department, New Jersey Transit Police, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Newark Division, along with Hudson Regional Hospital EMS and Secaucus and Jersey City Fire Departments for their assistance during this protracted event. This protracted event highlights the inherent danger law enforcement faces with the intent to always protect the sanctity of human life.”

“This is another example of negotiation and de-escalation tactics and training leading to a non-violent conclusion without any use of force,” said Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez.  “I commend the women and men of all agencies who responded for their professionalism in this incident which also resulted in the removal of numerous illegal firearms​.”

Rahim Harris, 42 of Newark and Haneefha S. White, 39 of Johnstowns, PA, were both charged with four counts of Unlawful Possession of a Handgun [2C:39-5(b)], three counts of Unlawful Possession of a Weapon [2C:39-5f(3)], Unlawful Possession of a Weapon [2C:39-5c(1)], Unlawful Possession of a Weapon [2C:39-5c(2)], Receiving Stolen Property [2C:20-7], Unlawful Possession of High Capacity Magazines [2C:39-3J], Possession of Armor Piercing Ammunition 2C:39-3f],  Transporting Assault Firearms [2C:39-9g], Transporting High Capacity Magazines [2C:39-9h], Money Laundering [2C:21-25a] and Obstructing the Administration of Law [2C:29-1a].  Rahim Harris was also charged with eight counts of Certain Persons Not to Possession Firearms [2C:39-7b].  White was additionally charged with two counts of Possession of False Government Documents [2C:21-2.1d] and Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance [2C:35-10a(1)].   Both defendants were lodged in the Hudson County Correctional Facility.

Tips can be made by calling (201) 330-2049, emailed to spdtips@secaucus.net or submitted anonymously through the department’s website at www.secaucuspolice.org. These charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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