The township man accused of stabbing a Bayville ShopRite employee yesterday is now in custody and on his way to the Ocean County Jail in Toms River.
Christopher Page, 34, Galleon Street, was arrested without incident in the area of Main Street and Water Street near the South Toms River border at 10:19 a.m., Police Chief Karin T. DiMichele said.
"There was no injury to the officers or to him," the chief said.
An eyewitness who recognized Page called Berkeley Township police headquarters to report his location.
"They saw him getting into a car," DiMichele said. "Police stopped his car on Water Street. He was in the car with his girlfriend."
Officers from the Toms River and South Toms River police departments took Page into custody.
Page's capture marked the end of a search that began shortly after police said he walked into the Bayville ShopRite around noon and confronted employee Noah Jackson.
"These detectives worked throughout the night vigilantly," DiMichele said.
Page is charged with stabbing Jackson three times in the front of the store with a 4-inch folding knife. Jackson received three severe wounds in the attack and was airlifted to Jersey Shore University Medical Center.
Page is charged with attempted murder, possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, DiMichele said.
The two men knew each other. Police are still investigating the cause of the dispute, DiMichele said.
DiMichele said she was in close contact with Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. and Administrator Frederick Ebenau throughout the day.
"I contated the mayor and business administrator and told them how much this was going to cost," the chief said. "They allowed me to use as many resources as we needed to get him off the street. The township fully supported law enforcement efforts."
DiMichele and Detective Sgt. James J. Smith praised ShopRite management for closing the store for four hours yesterday and helping in the investigation.
"They did whatever they could to protect the customers and the scene," Smith said. "They were just really helpful to us."
There were about 100 customers in the store at the time of the attack, he said.
"It was a challenging scene," Smith said. "What a scene. That's all I can say."
Customers and store personnel who saw the attack were traumatized, he said.
"These people will never see anything like this again in their lives," Smith said.
And Smith has some advice for those who question why no one attempted to subdue Page as he fled the store and escaped in a 2002 gold Infiniti.
"Be a good witness," he said. "Don't get involved. The guy was armed with a knife."
A nurse inside the store tended to Jackson before he was airlifted to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Smith said.
"She had a huge part in the successful landing at Jersey Shore," he said.
DiMichele stressed that what happened yesterday was an isolated incident and should not reflect badly on ShopRite.
"These men knew each other," she said. "I don't want residents to think it's unsafe to be at ShopRite."
Police hope to recover more evidence from the incident shortly. The knife used in the attack has not yet been recovered, Smith said.