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Evidence Unclear after Man Claims He Shot at Assailants

John Mazanec, 55, believes he shot one of the men trespassing at Camp Yaw Paw

Police say they've been unable to corroborate the stories of a man who told them he shot at two unknown individuals who assaulted him Monday night at Camp Yaw Paw.

John Mazanec, 55, placed a 911 call just before 9 p.m. on Monday night reporting an assault with shots fired at Camp Yaw Paw off of Bear Swamp Road in Mahwah, police reported Tuesday.

The property, owned by the Boy Scouts of America, was under the care of Mazanec. 

Mahwah officers, along with a police dog, responded to the scene and found Mazanec outside the ranger house holding a gauze pad to his head, blood on his hands and face, according to Mahwah Police Chief Jim Batelli.

Mazanec told police that at about 6:35 p.m. he confronted two individuals on a yellow ATV, advising them they were on private property and told them to leave.

Mazanec said the two males, who were of medium complexion, medium build and approximately 40 years of age, initially left the area without initial incident.

But about two hours later, Mazanec heard the ATV outside the residence again and spotted the pair approaching the house. 

One of the males, still wearing a helmet, began to bang on the front door.

Mazanec approached the door with a handgun by his side and opened the door, according to police. A brief altercation ensued and Mazanec was struck in the head with an unknown object causing a laceration, he told police.

That's when Mazanec says he fired four shots from the revolver — two warning shots toward the ground and two at one of the individuals who was 5 to 8 feet away.

Mazanec told cops that one or both of these shots struck one of the men.

Both men ran from the area, jumped on the ATV and rode off into the woods.

Mazanec was transported to Valley Hospital where he was treated for a head wound and released.

The Mahwah Police were assisted at the scene by the Bergen Prosecutor’s Office, Bergen County Police Department and the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office in processing the crime scene.

Mazanec was interviewed by investigators from the Mahwah Police Department and Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office. During the interviews there were several inconsistencies in Mr. Mazanec’s story and the facts of the incident as relayed by Mazanec changed.

A search of the area found no corroborating forensic evidence. Area hospitals were contacted but did not report treating any shooting victims. A helicopter search of the area was not possible due to a low ceiling and unfavorable weather conditions.      

The incident is still under investigation.

melissa lewis May 22, 2012 at 07:55 PM
I love the Mahwah police!!!
rodney van dunk May 22, 2012 at 09:52 PM
just another crazy ranger with a gun i just hope the mahwah police arrest him
Andy Schmidt May 23, 2012 at 04:33 AM
So you were a witness at the scene when the injuries occurred?

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