JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A police lieutenant is on the wrong side of the law, accused of killing his estranged wife and wounding another man in Jefferson Township.
Just before 11:30 p.m. Sunday, neighbors near Mirror Place in the White Rock section of the township heard a series of pops.
“At first we thought it was fireworks,” one neighbor told CBS2’s Alice Gainer.
“We heard what we thought was fireworks and then some yelling,” neighbor Tom Verrone said.
It was actually gunshots.
When officers arrived at the scene, they found 37-year-old Christine Formisano laying on the front porch steps of a home. She was pronounced dead at the scene. A 40-year-old man was found shot multiple times inside another home.
“She ran to the next door neighbor’s house, but it was late and people were sleeping, and she was, you know, ‘Please, open the door,’ and then she went to the next neighbor’s house and [Formisano] followed her right down to the house and shot her on the front porch,” Verrone said.
CBS2 has been told the couple’s two young children, ages 10 and under, were home at the time, but they were not injured. Rachel Verrone had just pulled into her parents’ driveway around the corner after the shooting took place.
“I heard a woman saying, just in a very calm quiet voice, ‘Stay there, stay there,'” she said.
Verrone says that voice was talking to Formisano’s 10-year-old daughter, who was in a window of the home. She says she saw a SWAT team positioned outside.
Around 2 a.m., 49-year-old Newark Police Lt. John Formisano, a 24-year veteran of the force, was taken into custody in a parking lot in Livingston Township. CBS2 has been told Formisano fled to his mother’s house in the area.
Newark Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose released the following statement:
“The Newark Public Safety Department is deeply saddened by the family tragedy involving Newark Police Lt. John Formisano. Our foremost concern, of course, is for the couple’s two children who have lost their mother and for the family of the victim.
“Lt. Formisano’s colleagues in our police division were shocked by the news of the shooting and we recognize it this is a tragedy beyond comprehension for all involved.”
Officers found a firearm they believe Formisano used in the shooting in his car.
Some neighbors say they only recently learned that the couple was no longer together and that Formisano seemed like a great guy. Tom Verrone says, like everyone else in the neighborhood, he’s shocked.
“We would talk over here all the time. I mean, he was nice, but obviously, he snapped,” he said.
Formisano is facing multiple charges, including murder, attempted murder and endangering the welfare of a child.
Newark Police say Formisano has been suspended without pay.