Fatal stabbing leads to standoff, arrests in Little Falls

July 15, 2013 3:24:33 PM PDT
Police locked down a neighborhood in New Jersey early Monday after a teenager was found dead.

The victim, 18-year-old Brian Topoleski, was with five friends in a black Mercedes as they drove home from a night out at Applebee's.

The Mercedes was stopped at a traffic light on Union Boulevard in Little Falls. A Jeep occupied by four people, including the suspect Jonathan Lafontaine, another young man and two girls, pulled behind the Mercedes.

Initially, the occupants of the Jeep believed they recognized the occupants of the Mercedes, and started to yell out to the Mercedes. Within moments, the occupants of the Jeep realized that they did not know the occupants of the Mercedes.

Words were exchanged between the occupants of both vehicles. The Jeep departed en route to 56 Jacobus Avenue in Little Falls. The Mercedes followed the Jeep to that location.

When both vehicles were at the location, the verbal fight continued. The suspect, Lafontaine, got out of the Jeep and entered his friend, Rilind Hoti's, home.

Occupants of the Mercedes, including the victim, Brian Topoleski, exited their vehicle and went to the Jeep with the remaining occupants still inside the Jeep.

The verbal dispute continued. Police say Lafontaine retrieved two knives from inside the home. As Lafontaine was exiting the home, his friend, Rilind Hoti, tried to prevent him from going back outside. At that point, it does not appear that Hoti knew what was happening outside, only that his friend is trying to leave the house. While he was trying to prevent Lafontaine from leaving, he sustained cuts to his hand.

Lafontaine allegedly approached the victim and his friends, who are now attempting to get back into the Mercedes. Police say Lafontaine punched the victim and then stabbed him in the chest. The stabbing took place in the roadway area. A knife was recovered from the roadway. An additional knife was recovered from inside the home.

Lafontaine went back inside the residence after the incident. Shortly thereafter the suspect left the residence and hid in the backyard. The Passaic County SWAT Team was called to the location for assistance.

Four individuals were removed from the residence, and later determined to be witnesses of the incident. Lafontaine was discovered by the Passaic County SWAT Team hiding in the rear yard. He was taken into custody without incident.

Topoleski was taken to St. Joseph's Regional Trauma Center where he later died from his injuries. He had recently graduated from Cedar Grove High School.

Sources say the couple who owns the home moved to New York City, but it is still periodically used by their college-age children.