By MADDY VITALE
An Ocean City man has been charged with killing his mother at a senior citizens housing complex in the resort, Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey H. Sutherland and Ocean City Police Chief Bill Campbell said in a joint news release Saturday.
Jeffrey Surgent, 46, called police about 4 p.m. Friday stating that “he suffers from mental illness, and he just killed his mother,” according to the release.
Officers responded to Speitel Commons located at the corner of Sixth Street and West Avenue.
Upon arrival, police discovered Surgent and the body of his 74-year-old mother, the release stated.
Surgent was taken into custody without incident. He was charged with murder, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a weapon.
Authorities would not release the name of the victim, the type of weapon used or any further details about the murder.
Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office Capt. Daniel Holt said in an interview, “There are no dangers to anybody else, but we are bound by Attorney General rules on information we are allowed to provide during an active investigation.”
Holt said he believes Surgent may have lived with his mother at the 32-unit affordable housing complex for senior citizens in the heart of Ocean City’s downtown.
Cape May County Commissioner Bob Barr, who is also chairman of the Ocean City Housing Authority, which oversees the Speitel Commons complex, said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim and her family and the residents of Speitel.”
Barr said when the housing authority learned of the killing, they went to work to bring in grief counselors for anyone who may have seen the crime scene.
“We will do everything we can for them in their time of need. We are providing grief counselors,” Barr said. “We set up a room for the residents and anyone else who needs counseling and services. They will be provided for them.”
Barr also stated that the housing authority has “provided law enforcement with everything they have requested.”
He noted that after the killing, the residents of the four-story building were told to stay in their rooms.
“As soon as that was lifted, they were able to go into a room with refreshments and speak to each other and grief counselors,” Barr said. “We had counselors there well into the night and they will be there again.”
Surgent is in police custody in a secure medical facility, authorities said.
The Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, along with the Ocean City Police Department Detective Bureau, and the New Jersey Southern Regional Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating.