BY Christopher Lang, Correspondent, @topherlang2 | MonroeNow | Sep 12, 2018
SAYREVILLE – Police officers were able to safely arrest a man allegedly with an AK-47, who was also wearing a ballistic vest, while he was at the Visions Gentlemen’s Gun Club on Sept. 11, according to a joint statement from Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey and Sayreville Police Chief John Zebrowski on Wednesday night.
According to the statement, Kevin Smith, also known as Kevin Papalia, 32, of Keyport is alleged to have had the gun while at the Visions Gentlemen’s Club, located in the Melrose section of Sayreville.
Police received a call from an employee around 4 p.m. saying there was an individual inside with a gun, according to the statement.
Police responded and said they observed “Smith quickly exit the building and drive away.” During the time, police described Smith as wearing the ballistic vest, a military-style helmet and carrying a gun.
The release stated that Smith was stopped nearby the club and surrendered to police. After arresting Smith, aside from the vest and helmet, police allegedly found the AK-47 on him along with a loaded magazine clip.
“This incident quickly unfolded and the decision not to immediately confront this individual was the right choice,” said Zebrowski. “The restraint utilized by the responding officers defused a potentially tragic confrontation.”
Officers also allegedly recovered a “second tactical vest, several loaded, large capacity magazines from inside the manager’s office” at the club, as well as a rifle with more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition and body armor from Smith’s home in Keyport.
“On 9/11, a day in America’s history where, we show our support for our first responders, we are indebted to the police officers involved in this matter for their extraordinary efforts to preserve life and keep the community safe,” Carey said. “Furthermore, I would like to thank the Keyport Police Department for their assistance and cooperation in this matter.”
Smith has been charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of large capacity magazines and unlawful use of a body vest.
After his arrest, Smith was sent to the Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy. The incident also caused traffic on Route 35 at Victory Bridge to be diverted.
Anyone that may have information about this case can call Sayreville Police Capt. Jack Fitzsimmons at 732-525-5409.