On January 25, a little before 4:00 a.m., a clerk at the Quick Chek on Route 28 in Branchburg, New Jersey, noticed a black male in a military jacket acting suspiciously inside the all-night convenience store. The clerk called the police. Patrolman Steven Cronce showed up and, after conducting a field interview, agreed with the clerk’s assessment. The man, whose name is Lloyd Woodson, was acting “extremely nervous.” Suddenly, the man ran. As Woodson fled, the policeman noticed his “back was flat,” which led him to believe Woodson might be wearing a bulletproof vest.
Outside, Lloyd Woodson disappeared inside a nearby trailer park. Patrolman Cronce called for backup, and soon a group of officers were canvassing the area for the suspect. There was a chase, a tackle, and Woodson resisting arrest. The pepper spray came out.
According to the police report: “Woodson was concealing a loaded Bushmaster semi-automatic .223 caliber (5.56 mm) assault rifle, which had been altered to fire .50 caliber ammunition, inside of his military-style coat.” And under his coat, “Woodson was wearing a military-style ballistic vest with a reinforced front steel plate and had four additional loaded magazines, all containing ball type and hollow-point ammunition.” The Bushmaster rifle had a “defaced serial number.”
In other words, he was weaponed-up and ready to do battle.
New Jersey prosecutor Wayne J. Forrest ordered Lloyd Woodson’s local hotel room searched. There police found:
- a Bushmaster .308 caliber semi-automatic assault rifle with a defaced serial number
- a 37 mm Cobray grenade launcher
- a second ballistic vest
- a rifle mountable Nightsight Illuminator NP75 (Russia) night vision scope
- hundreds of additional .50 caliber and .308 caliber ammunition along with military pouches and garrison equipment
- a police scanner
- a military-style backpack
- a map of a U.S. military installation — which turned out to be Fort Drum
- a map of an out-of-state civilian community
- a Middle Eastern red and white colored traditional headdress, or keffiyeh