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Mahwah Police Awarded for Response to Murder-Suicide

Police entered a Mahwah home last June not knowing if a man who planned to shoot his wife and himself was alive or dead

Mahwah Police officers who entered a Mahwah home last June not knowing whether or not a shooter was alive or dead were awarded for their swift response to what later proved to be a murder-suicide.

A handful of Mahwah officers were recognized last month by the Bergen County Police Chiefs Association at the County Police Academy Graduation for their response to a Polo Club home in which an 82-year-old man shot and killed his wife and then himself.

In a release about the award, Police Chief Jim Batelli gave some insight into what the response was like, from the PD’s point of view:

The officers responded to a Mahwah residence after a husband threatened to kill his wife and them himself. The responding officers found the doors locked and no one answering the phone. Using a garage door code provided by a relative, the officers entered the home and began a room-by-room search until they found one victim with a gun shot wound to the head.

They administered first aid and removed her from the house and down the street where she was transported to a local hospital. Tragically, she did not survive her wounds and was pronounced dead by emergency room physicians.

The officers were recognized for their efforts in entering the house not knowing if the shooter was still alive and placing themselves in danger. Although the Bergen County SWAT team was already en route, Mahwah Police Detective Lieutenant Martin Clancy, a former Navy SEAL, determined they could not wait and an immediate entry could potentially save a life.

The officers pictured above - Detective Lieutenant Martin Clancy, Officer Jonathan Weber, Officer Daniel Stewart, Officer Kevin Tielemans, Officer Michael Jack, Officer Robert Loveman, Detective Guido Bussinelli, and Police Chief James Batelli - received a unit citation presented by the President of the Bergen County Police Chiefs Association, Lodi Police Chief Vincent Caruso.

Last July, the mayor commended the MPD, Mahwah Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Mahwah Ambulance, Mahwah CERT, and Mahwah Fire Department for their response to the murder-suicide.

Submit your questions or news tips to jessica.mazzola@patch.com. And, remember to sign up for Patch's daily newsletter, and get updates on Facebook and Twitter.

Jessica Mazzola January 07, 2013 at 06:15 PM
My apologies to Det. Bussinelli! I just added in his name.
Leaking Ink January 10, 2013 at 02:14 PM
Totally agree with roscoe03. Who was that person? Let's at least recognize that person in Patch.
monica stack January 10, 2013 at 07:24 PM
YOur article mentions "one person shot in the head". What about the husband? Where did they find him? Wonder if they found an suicide note. Also, how did the police know this guy "threatened to kill his wife"?
Jessica Mazzola January 10, 2013 at 07:31 PM
Hey Monica -- No suicide note was ever found. Below are links to the full story on this incident, which we reported on back in June: http://mahwah.patch.com/articles/neighbors-left-in-a-state-of-shock-after-couple-s-murder-suicide http://mahwah.patch.com/articles/woman-shot-by-husband-in-polo-club-home
Andy Schmidt January 10, 2013 at 07:32 PM
According to the original report... Mahwah Police were alerted to the scene by an early morning phone call from the couple’s daughter saying her father had called her to tell her he "had killed her mother, and was going to kill himself,” As far as details about the scene (e.g., who was found where in what condition, and if there was a note in addition to the phone call), those are really things that only concern the members of the family and the police, not gawkers.

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