ASBURY PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Prosecutors on Tuesday claimed an off-duty Neptune Township, New Jersey police sergeant shot and killed his ex-wife, and then began a standoff with police as he allegedly turned the gun on himself in Asbury Park.
As CBS2’s Weijia Jiang reported, Philip Seidle, 51, was charged with first-degree murder, second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child following the incident Tuesday morning, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office.
Asbury Park police were called around 11:26 a.m. to a report of an unrelated car crash, when they saw Seidle’s ex-wife, Tamara Seidle, driving a black 2012 Volkswagen Jetta turn a corner onto Sewall Avenue near Ridge Avenue in Asbury Park before crashing into a parked 2002 Ford Focus, prosecutors said.
Following behind the Jetta was Philip Seidle, driving a 2005 Honda Pilot, prosecutors said. He got out of his car and fired multiple shots into the Jetta, striking and killing his ex-wife, prosecutors alleged.
“It was a lot of yelling between him and the police,” a witness told the Asbury Park Press. “He was doing a lot of yelling; explaining how he was tired of going to court for child support. After that he shot the lady through the car three times. Three loud gunshots rang off.”
Seidle then pointed the weapon to his head, but then turned it at the Jetta again and fired several shots at the windshield, prosecutors said.
Seidle then pointed the weapon at his head once more, prompting a standoff with police that lasted 20 to 25 minutes, prosecutors said. He surrendered to officers from Asbury Park and Neptune Township, as well as the Monmouth County prosecutor’s and sheriff’s offices and the U.S. Marshals’ service around 11:52 a.m., prosecutors said.
The recently-divorced couple has nine children together between the ages of 7 and 24. Police said the youngest child was in the passenger seat of Seidle’s car when he chased after the car his ex was driving.
AJ Alan-Bess has lived next door to the family in Neptune Township for 16 years. He said at one point, they were a picture-perfect family with two loving parents.
“For these children to be as fine in character as they are, but lose both parents in a snap of a finger in one afternoon is a tragedy,” Alan-Bess said.
It was unclear what would happen to the Seidles’ children.
A family member who answered the door here at the Seidle home did not comment.
Video of the incident has turned up on social media sites, and prosecutors asked anyone with video or recordings to hand them over voluntarily. Anyone with information on the case was asked to call Detective John Leibfried of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office at (800) 533-7443, or Detective Dan Kowsaluk of the Asbury Park Police Department, at (732) 774-1300.
Seidle is a 22-year veteran Neptune Township police officer, and was promoted to sergeant in 2009, prosecutors said. He also served in the U.S. Navy from 1986 until his honorable discharge in 1990.
Seidle was being held on $2 million bail at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in Freehold Township Tuesday night.
If convicted, Seidle could face 30 years to life in prison.