Legal

Lakewood philanthropist Moshe Tress arrested for illegally shooting an AR-15 assault rifle

Tress fired the high-powered, semi-automatic weapon near a busy county road, “recklessly” creating “a risk of widespread injury,” according to the arrest warrant

Man shooting an AR-15 rifle. Credit: iStock

Nov 29, 2023 4:55 PM

Updated: 

Moshe Tress, a prominent figure within the Haredi community in Lakewood, New Jersey, was arrested earlier this month for allegedly shooting a high-powered assault rifle near a busy county road, with a nearby neighborhood “in the direct line of fire.”

Tress, a real estate investor and noted community philanthropist, fired the semi-automatic weapon, an unregistered AR-15 rifle, without a legal permit, hitting and damaging a nearby mailbox. According to the Jackson Township police officer who issued the arrest warrant, the defendant “recklessly” created “a risk of widespread injury or damage.”

Tress, who also goes by the name Mark, was charged with five crimes: possession of an assault firearm, possession of a sawed-off shotgun, possession of a large capacity ammunition magazine, criminal mischief, and risking widespread injury or damage.

“This gentleman has never been in trouble in his life, and it was more misadventure and recklessness than anything intentional,” Tress’s lawyer, William Cunningham, said at Tress’s Nov. 14 detention release hearing, according to a recording of the hearing obtained by Shtetl.

Now out of jail on pretrial release, Tress is due in court on Dec. 18 in Toms River.

Tress owns the company Cedar Holdings LLC, which owns real estate and health care facilities in several states. He has helped raise funds for numerous causes in Lakewood’s Haredi community, and has worked closely with  Agudath Israel of America, an organization that lobbies for Haredi interests, on various matters. In 2018, Tress helped create a pool of funds for families who owed money to the government after 26 Lakewood residents were arrested for committing Medicaid fraud.

Reached by Shtetl for comment, Tress said, “You have the wrong number, my apologies.” It was the correct number, according to multiple sources. Tress did not comment further.

Read more in Shtetl:
‘Could’ve killed someone’: New details emerge in arrest of Lakewood philanthropist Moshe Tress

Lauren Hakimi is a journalist whose work has appeared in The Forward, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, New York Jewish Week, WNYC/Gothamist and more. She graduated from CUNY Hunter College with degrees in history and English literature. Hailing from an Iranian Jewish community on Long Island, she looks forward to shining a light on stories that matter to the Jewish community. Follow her on Twitter @lauren_hakimi.