LITTLE EGG HARBOR — The retired New York Police Department lieutenant who was fatally shot by a SWAT team in a wooded area near his Ocean County home had been drinking and acting out of character, his wife told the Daily News.

In the account, Linda Fennell said she became worried when her husband, 57-year-old Patrick Fennell, went downstairs to their basement after drinking, and started loading a revolver. When she tried to take his bullets, he pushed her away, Linda Fennell told the newspaper.

She said when she called a 911 dispatcher, two gunshots echoed from the basement. By the time police arrived, Patrick Fennell was wearing camouflage and had headed out to the woods, she said.

Police saw Patrick Fennell leave the home with a handgun and spread out to keep him contained to a wooded area, Acting Attorney General Christopher Porrino has said.

At approximately 10:30 p.m., officers confronted Patrick Fennell, Porrino said. A member of the SWAT team fired multiple rounds, striking Fennell. Police recovered a handgun at the scene of the shooting. Fennell was pronounced dead at the scene.

Porrino did not say who fired first or what prompted the SWAT team member to fire. Porrino also didn’t identify the member of the SWAT team who fired.

Linda Fennell told the Daily News she can't imagine her husband would ever train a gun on police.

“I really couldn't believe he was doing what he was doing. ... After hours I thought, ‘Oh, my God, maybe it’s too far for him to turn back,” she said.

The NYPD Deputy Commissioner Public Information confirmed to New Jersey 101.5 that Fennell was with the department from August, 1981 until his retirement in November, 2001. The DCPI would not provide information about his career with the NYPD, but Fennell’s Facebook page said he was a detective lieutenant.

A newspaper clipping posted on Facebook indicates he won two Distinguished Duty Medals for his action in two incidents.

Linda Fennell, reached directly by New Jersey 101.5 Tuesday, declined comment.

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