Off Duty NJ Cop Firing on Police in Doylestown
The shooter is an off-duty Clifton, NJ, police officer; one Doylestown officer was struck by a piece of concrete when a bullet hit the curb.
Update 10:47 p.m.: Folks helping out: We're told that the Penn Taproom is sending food to people displaced by the standoff and that the Highland Farm Bed and Breakfast has offered its four rooms to people without a place to stay.
Update 10:40 p.m.: What reporter Tom Sofield described as an "eerie" calm has descended over the neighborhood as the standoff continues. The neighborhood is almost completely dark, with almost no interior lights from homes visible.
A PECO truck was seen entering the area some time ago, but it's not clear whether authorities have cut power to any homes, whether residents were asked to keep lights out, or whether the darkness is a function of many residents being away from home when the standoff began around 2:00 p.m.
Gunshot-like noises heard between 9:00 and 9:30 p.m. were not related to the standoff, according to police at the scene. One police officer speculated that activity at the nearby gun range or fireworks may have been responsible.
Update 9:43 p.m.: As local editor Sarah Larson posted below, in the comments section:
"Township Supervisor Barbara Lyons is here at the township building, trying to help residents sort out places to stay and medication and pets. No one is being allowed back into the neighborhood.
Families with teens or young adults in the locked down houses can give their addresses to police, and they will go in and bring the people out. After the people are out, the police said they will try to get the pets out.
Lyons is trying to arrange discounted hotel rates for the families with no place to stay - about 15 of them, it looks like."
Update 8:54 p.m.: "Resolution of this incident could take some time," said Chief David Mettin of the Pennridge Regional Police Department. Negotiators continue to speak with Klementovich, who remains in the residence.
Mettin said residents who had been displaced from their homes would not be allowed back until the situation had been resolved.
Mettin said that two Doylestown Township police cars were shot multiple times and remain "disabled at the scene."
Some residents who were waiting to return to their homes gathered at the township building, where they were told to expect a briefing from authorities.
Some expressed concern for the well being of housepets that had not received food or care since Sunday morning.
DOYLESTOWN, PA—Police from 21 Bucks County police departments remained in a Doylestown Township neighborhood Sunday evening after an off-duty New Jersey police officer fired on other officers responding to a "civil matter" at the home.
The ongoing standoff has included incidents of gunfire, including one that left an officer injured.
The shooter has been identified as Richard Klementovich, 42, an officer for the Clifton Police Department in Passaic County in northern New Jersey. The house at 25 Bittersweet Drive, in Doylestown Township, belongs to Klementovich's estranged wife, police said.
The injured officer was identified as Corporal William Doucette of the Doylestown Borough Police Department. Chief David Mettin of the Pennridge Regional Police Department said his injuries were "not severe."
According to Mettin, a gunshot round hit the curb and a piece of concrete dislodged by the round struck Doucette in the face. Mettin could not say at which hospital Doucette had been treated.
Mettin said Klementovich struck two police vehicles, including an armored personnel carrier, with gunfire.
Klementovich was armed with what Mettin called "long guns" and a reported 2,000 rounds of ammunition. Police radio reports throughout the afternoon indicated that he had fired on police from multiple windows of the house. At about 5:00 p.m., Klementovich reportedly again opened fire on police, who returned fire with five shots into the second floor of the house.
A negotiating team was reportedly attempting to talk Klementovich down. Representatives from the Bucks County District Attorney's office and county detectives were also said to be at the scene. Police radio reports indicated that negotiators were still in contact with Klementovich as of 7:40 p.m. on Sunday evening.
"We want to see this come to a safe conclusion," Mettin said. Police said they do not believe that anyone else is in the house with Klementovich.
Mettin was serving as a spokesman for the task force, which was being commanded by Doylestown Township police chief Dean Logan at an insurance office near the residential neighborhood where the standoff was taking place.
Police first responded to the scene at 1:44 p.m. on Sunday. The first shots were fired at about 1:58 p.m, police said.
"They’re trained for this. They are the best. Hopefully everything is going to be ok," said Barbara Lyons, chairperson of the Doylestown Township Board of Supervisors.
The Star-Ledger newspaper of Newark, NJ reported that Klementovich is an 18-year veteran who made $114,560 last year. They further reported that members of the Clifton police department were at the scene and working with local authorities.
Residents rattled: "This is all new to us"
Many residents of the neighborhood remained secluded in their homes as the standoff continued down the street.
Around 2 p.m., John Marabella was working at replacing a door at his home on Radcliff Drive, when he heard a series of gunshots, one after the other.
Gunshots actually aren’t that unusual in their neighborhood, since they live not far from a rifle range operated by the Bucks County Fish & Game Association.
“At first I thought it was the gun club,” John Marabella said. “But then something just told me that it wasn’t.”
“You don’t hear rapid fire like that,” his wife, Rosann, chimed in. “They don’t allow it.”
But it wasn’t until a police officer came pounding on their door that the Marabellas realized how serious the situation was. Unbeknownst to them, a man in the house two to three doors down from them had started shooting at responding police officers.
“You could see he was very upset,” Rosann said of the officer bearing an assault rifle standing on her doorstep. “He said, ‘You have to get out of the house now.’”
“I asked him if I had time to grab my purse, and he said, ‘Yes, but do it now, and get anyone else who is in the house, out of the house,’ “ Rosann said.
For the next few hours, the Marabellas joined a growing group of neighborhood residents who gathered first at Central Park, and then at the township building on Wells Road, waiting, chatting, and sharing what information they could as the standoff dragged on.
"In this neighborhood, the worst crime we ever get is someone's political signs get taken," said Brian O'Connell, a 12-year resident of Radcliff Drive. "This is all new to us."
"You know it's not good when Warwick is closing the road," said Alice Anne Babinetz, gesturing towards a Warwick Police Department car on Wells Road. Babinetz, who has lived in the neighborhood for 19 years, brought sunscreen and bottles of water to police officers and media members at the edge of the secured area.
Mettin said police had used an automated alert system to notify nearby residents of the situation. People were told to go to a safe place in the house.
"We suggested the basement," Mettin said.
Visitors to nearby Doylestown Central Park were kept in the park area by police until about 5:00 p.m., at which point they were escorted out of the standoff area.
Earlier story and updates below.
Update 5:01 p.m.: Police radio reports indicate that Klementovich just fired at officers again. Officers reportedly returned five shots towards the second floor of the house.
Update 4:54 p.m.: Authorities have identified the shooter as Richard Klementovich, 42, a Clifton Township, NJ police officer. He is occupying the residence at 25 Bittersweet Drive.
Update 4:27 p.m.: A Clifton, NJ police car arrived at the scene about 30 minutes ago. It's not clear at this time that the shooter, said to be an off duty New Jersey police officer, is affiliated with the Clifton, NJ police department.
Update 4:13 p.m.: A woman wearing a flak jacket who identified herself as a negotiator was allowed through the police barricade at Wells Road and Turk Road shortly after 4:00 p.m.
Update 4:09 p.m.: Additional shots were heard near the scene just before 4:00 p.m. Police on emergency radio channels have requested that airspace in the area up to 30,000 feet within a 30 mile radius of the scene be kept clear.
The most recent shots were reportedly fired from a garage window.
Update 4:00 p.m.: Media at the scene have been told that Doylestown police will be holding a briefing on the situation at the Doylestown municipal building shortly. We'll continue to bring you additional details as we get them.
Update 3:35 p.m.: In addition to Doylestown police, police units from Warrick, Warminster, Quakertown, Sellersville, and Plumstead have been sighted at the scene of the standoff.
A steady stream of traffic turning onto Wells Road from Lower State Road is being turned around.
Update 3:17 p.m.: There is an unconfirmed report that police at the scene have negotiated a "temporary truce" with the shooter, who is described as 5 feet, 10 inches tall and having a "muscular build."
The Delaware County Times reported on its Twitter feed that the shooter had "already destroyed two [police] cruisers." The paper and a number of other media outlets have identified the shooter as an off-duty New Jersey police officer.
Update 3:08 p.m.: A section of Wells Road between Lower State Road and Turk Road has been closed.
Two Central Bucks Ambulance vehicles are posted on Lower State Road near The Market at DelVal.
As his team prepared to enter the secured area on the southeast barricade on Wells Road, one unidentified SWAT team member could be heard advising his colleagues, "Remember guys, if you can see him, he can see us."
Update 2:45 p.m.: Nearby residents have told Patch via Twitter that police have advised them to move to their basements, presumably to avoid being in possible lines of fire.
The location is less than a quarter-mile from Doylestown's Central Park, which is likely being heavily used for recreational activities this afternoon.
Traffic is moving very slowly through the area.
Initial story below.
Police and SWAT team members from around Bucks County are converging on a location in the vicinity of Wells Road and Radcliff Drive after an unidentified person who is reportedly barricaded inside opened fire on responding police officers.
Breaking News Network, a service that monitors police radio broadcasts, indicated that the person inside was a police officer.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that police were called to the scene for a "civil matter" and had requested that SWAT also respond.