Cop accused of killing wife was having marital problems, union says
The Newark police officer accused of shooting and killing his wife at the home they owned in Jefferson was having marital problems, according to the head of his union.
But "there was no indication that any violence was being contemplated," James Stewart, president of the Newark Fraternity of Police Lodge No. 12, said in a statement sent to New Jersey 101.5.
UPDATE, 6:45 p.m.: This story has been substantially updated to reflect charges against John Formisano and new information released by the Morris County Prosecutor's Office.
Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp, whose office is investigating the shooting, first acknowledged Lt. John Formisano's identity as the suspect in the shooting in a statement issued late Monday. He said the deceased was Christine Formisano, 37, of Jefferson Township. He described John Formisano as Christine Formisano's estranged husband.
A second victim, a 40-year-old man, was located with multiple gunshot wounds inside the home, Knapp said.
Police sources told News 4 New York two children were in the house at the time but unharmed. Knapp's statement doesn't address that.
John Formisano is a 24-year veteran of the Newark police force.
Stewart said Formisano also had been taking care of his mother, who is battling serious health issues.
"I have known John for 25 years. We were academy classmates in 1995. He is an easy-going, laid back, very smart, funny gentleman," Stewart said. "To say that we are all shocked by the events of early this morning would be a tremendous understatement."
"Our hearts break for his children and our condolences go out to the shattered family of his wife, we are all just stunned," Stewart said.
What happened at the house?
According to the Morris County Prosecutor's Office, Jefferson Township Police were dispatched to 1 Mirror Place at 11:21 p.m. Sunday for a report of shots fired. They found a deceased woman's body laying on the front porch of nearby 5 Mirror Place, the prosecutor's office said. A 40-year-old man was found with multiple gunshot wounds but alive in 1 Mirror Place, it said.
Neighbor Thomas Verrone told the North Jersey Record he heard three shots fired. His daughter, Rachel Verrone, told the Record she heard instructions being given to a small girl who lives next door to stay put.
The two told the Record they heard six more shots fired.
Another neighbor told the Record that Formisano followed his wife as she ran from house to house looking for help, and shot her as she stood on a neighbor's doorstep.
Police have not addressed any of those witness reports specifically.
Where was Formisano found?
The Essex County Prosecutor's Office had said earlier Formisano was arrested early Monday at his parents' home in Livingston, the Associated Press initially reported. But the Morris County Prosecutor's Office said in its statement later Monday Formisano was found in a parking lot in Livingston at about 2 a.m.
What did Formisano allegedly use as a weapon?
According to the Morris County Prosecutor's Office, the firearm Formisano was believed to have used was found in his vehicle. It said the vehicle was "also located in Livingston." It wasn't immediately clear if Formisano was in his vehicle at the time of his arrest.
A spokesperson for the office said he could not address whether the firearm recovered was his service weapon.
What will Formisano be charged with?
Formisano has been charged with murder in the first degree, attempted murder in the second degree, two counts of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose in the second degree and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child in the second degree.
A Newark police public information officer told New Jersey 101.5 Formisano, a lieutenant with the department, has been suspended without pay after the incident. His salary is $116,572, according to public records.
— With reporting by Dan Alexander and Louis C. Hochman
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