Man in custody after Wildwood shooting that left innocent bystander seriously injured

Saturday, July 13, 2024 5:03PM
Man in custody after Wildwood shooting that left innocent bystander seriously injured
The gunman wanted for a shooting that left an innocent bystander hospitalized in Wildwood, New Jersey, has been taken into custody.

WILDWOOD, New Jersey (WPVI) -- The gunman wanted for a shooting that left an innocent bystander in critical condition in Wildwood, New Jersey, has been taken into custody.

Police arrested 40-year-old William C. Hoyle on Thursday without incident, officials said.

William Hoyle
William Hoyle

The shooting happened Tuesday around 10:30 p.m. in the 3800 block of Pacific Avenue in the City of Wildwood, according to police.

The female victim, identified as 20-year-old Vilte Gruzdyte, of Lithuanian, was taken to Atlantic Regional Medical Center in critical condition.

According to court documents obtained by Action News, Hoyle is observed on video running after someone while firing a handgun.

Authorities have not revealed the circumstances surrounding the shooting, but investigators say Gruzdyte was not the intended target.

Officers allegedly tracked Hoyle -- who is known to police -- to an apartment on Pacific Avenue. Video reportedly shows him arriving at the residence wearing distinct clothing used in the shooting, according to court documents.

He was not inside when police arrived, but several articles of clothing were recovered after a search warrant was approved.

Another video obtained by police reportedly shows Hoyle discarding the handgun into a sewer drain near Spicer and Atlantic avenues.

As a result of the search warrant, investigators charged 45-year-old David L. Johnson with hindering apprehension. He was released on a summons.

Authorities say Hoyle turned himself in on Thursday. He is facing charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault, among other offenses.

The victim is an employee of Morey's Piers, the company confirmed. She is still listed in critical condition and on life support measures, officials said Friday.

In a statement, VP of Human Resources Denise Beckson said Gruzdyte was an international student working in Wildwood for the summer. She was off-duty when the shooting occurred.

"We are a family, and we are working to provide support to our employee and her family during this incredibly challenging time," Beckson wrote. "The news has deeply affected all of us, and we are committed to doing everything in our power to assist her and her loved ones. Our hearts and prayers are with them."

Action News spoke with another international student working as a lifeguard who heard the gunshots.

"I opened the door a bit and saw a guy running over there. And I understood that it might be the shooter, maybe," said Ani Jinanyan from Armenia.

Jinanyan lives near the scene at Pacific Avenue and Spicer Street. She was able to capture video of the police response to the gunfire.

"I was scared. It's my first time hearing gunshots," she recalled. "We don't have that in our country. So yeah, American experience."

Many in the area fled when they heard the shooting. A bar near the scene, Cattle 'n Clover, had signs in its windows telling people to call if they had left anything behind Tuesday night.

Action News attempted to speak with the bar's owner, who had no comment.

In the aftermath of the shooting, residents in the area are searching for answers.

"I just would like answers. I think we all would," said Christina McKinstry. "I have two little ones. It scares me that I'm not able to feel safe blocks away from my home."

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to contact the Wildwood Police Department's Detective Division at 609-522-0222.