Lower Twp Man Was Involved in Bar Fight, Abandoned By Friends Prior to Death
This much is certain about the night James Weaver died.
He was killed by a single gunshot to the head; shot by a frightened homeowner in a wheelchair, who had warned the 21-year-old not to try entering his home and told him he was armed with a gun.
What Weaver was doing at the man's door on Route 109 in Cold Spring, Lower Township early Sunday morning is less clear.
James Weaver's family say he had been beaten up in a bar fight earlier Saturday night and was left panicking on the side of the road after an argument with friends driving him home.
Weaver had been involved in a fight at the Ugly Mug in Cape May, and then apparently became enraged during the drive home early Sunday, kicking out several car windows before being told to get out of the car by its driver.
Initial reports after last weekend's shooting indicated that Weaver was attempting a home invasion when he was shot.
In an interview Monday with The Press of Atlantic City, Weaver's grandmother, Debbie Cianchetta, of Middle Township, said she didn't blame the homeowners for being scared by the late-night intrusion, noting that her grandson was 6 feet 4 inches tall. But she believes Weaver was only trying to get help.
According to a statement released Monday by Cape May County Prosecutor Robert Taylor, there was interaction between Weaver and the couple in the home.
“While the wife was on the phone with police, the husband, who has limited mobility, got into his wheelchair and armed himself with a handgun. Weaver ultimately smashed the glass door in an attempt to force his way into the residence. The homeowner warned Weaver not to enter and said he was armed with a gun. Weaver continued to make entry into the residence at which time the homeowner shot Weaver one time.”
Police are still investigating what happened during a gap of time of close to an hour between the time Weaver left his friend's car at 2:25am and the first report of a possible intruder at the Cold Spring home at 3:15am Sunday.
Weaver's grandmother said she had calls from him during this time, asking to be picked up, but when she drove to the area, she was unable to find him. Relatives speculate that Weaver only went to the home to try to get help.
The state Medical Examiner's Office conducted an autopsy Monday and are waiting a final toxicology report to show whether Weaver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The names of the homeowners were not released. They are not expected to be charged.