Resident facing assault charge in shooting incident

By Joyce Blay
Staff Writer

Resident facing assault
charge in shooting incident
By Joyce Blay
Staff Writer

LAKEWOOD — A township man has been charged with aggravated assault with a firearm following an incident on First Street on Dec. 14.

Lakewood Police Department Lt. Robert Lawson confirmed that a shooting had taken place at the Coliseum barbershop, 235 First St., on Dec. 18 at 4 p.m.

He said Michael Trottman, 18, was shot once in the shoulder and taken to Kimball Medical Center, Route 9.

According to Lawson, Patrolman Glenn Bressan was dispatched after someone using a cell phone called in a report of shots being fired. Bressan was one block away and got to the scene in 30 seconds, the lieutenant said.

The cell phone caller said he had witnessed the shooting and that the shooter was a male wearing a white jacket with a black stripe on it.

When Bressan arrived in front of the barbershop, a vehicle pulled up and parked in front of him and the driver told Bressan he had witnessed the shooting, according to Lawson.

Lawson said the name of the witness could not be revealed in order to protect his identity and ensure his safety.

"(The witness) said he originally thought it had been firecrackers going off, but when he looked in his mirror he saw a male standing on First Street with his arm extended toward the Baptist church (on that street)," Lawson said. "He heard more of the sounds and (the witness) said he realized the man he saw was firing a gun."

The witness described the shooter to police as a black or Hispanic male in his 20’s, of medium build, about 6 feet tall, wearing a white coat.

"He said the shooter ran in a northerly direction on the side of the street where the Coliseum is located," Lawson said.

Two vehicles were struck and damaged by the gunshots. One had a hole in the windshield and the other had its right and left windows shot out.

Shortly thereafter, Lt. Gregory Miick radioed that he and several other officers had detained a possible suspect on the rooftop of 232 Second St., about 500 feet from the scene of the shooting, Lawson said. Miick and Patrolman Michael McGowan arrested the suspect and Officer Thomas Langenberger brought him back to police headquarters for identification.

At that time, Bressan recognized the suspect as Anthony Bellavista, 31, of Lakewood.

"Mr. Bellavista was wearing a white jacket with a black stripe down the sleeve," said Lawson. "The witness looked at the suspect and said it could have been the shooter, but he couldn’t be positive."

Another witness placed Bellavista inside the barbershop just prior to the shooting, he said.

Lawson said although there were other people inside the barbershop, they all said they didn’t see anything.

"We contacted the Ocean County Criminal Investigative Unit and they sent a team down to process the crime scene," the lieutenant said, adding that 10 shell casings were found at the scene of the shooting, but no weapon was recovered.

Detective Reginald Dalton responded to Kimball Medical Center to interview Trottman, the victim of the shooting. Lawson said the bullet entered Trottman’s left shoulder, exited his body and re-entered the left biceps. Lawson said the wound was not life threatening.

Sgt. Paul Daly, Detective John Still-well, Detective Reginald Dalton, Officer Edward Ward and Officer Gregory Staffordsmith are conducting the follow-up investigation into the shooting.

"The complaint against Bellavista was for aggravated assault with a firearm," Lawson said. "Bail was set by Judge Peter Giovine Jr. of the Ocean County Superior Court at $50,000, with no 10 percent option, which means that the alleged assailant must come up with the total amount of bail in order to be released. In some cases, only 10 percent of the bail will be required in order to enable the accused to come up with the funds needed, but not in this case."

Lawson had praise for the arresting officers.

"The quick response time of the arresting officers was the reason they were successful in apprehending the suspect," he said.