New Jersey Cop Says He Blacked Out Before Killing Estranged Wife And Shooting Her Boyfriend

Photo: CBS New York
Who Is John Formisano? New Details About New Jersey Cop Who Killed His Estranged Wife And Shot Her Boyfriend
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On Sunday night around 11:20 p.m., Lt. John Formisano, a Newark police officer for 24 years, killed his estranged wife, Christie, and wounded her boyfriend in a shooting in Morris County. He shot Christie twice and her boyfriend, who’s identified only by the initials T.S., three times, according to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by NJ Advance Media. He was arrested at his parents' home in Livingston the next day around 2 a.m., according to a spokeswoman for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. He’s been suspended without pay.

What else is there to know? Who is John Formisano?

1. He and his wife had been having marital problems.

You think? According to James Stewart Jr., president of the Newark Fraternal Order of Police, “He had been going through marital problems and he has been taking care of his mother who is battling serious health issues, but there was no indication that any violence was being contemplated. Our hearts break for his children and our condolences go out to the shattered family of his wife, we are all just stunned.”

2. The neighbor's daughter thought the gunshots were fireworks at first.

The daughter of Thomas Verrone, who lives next door, heard the gunshots. “(Formisano) went in the front door. He shot the boyfriend three times and he shot the wife two times. She ran out of that house, went to the next door neighbor banging on the door, yelling that she had been shot. But it was late at night so no one answered. He came out, followed her and she went to the other neighbor’s house. She opened the (screen) door and then he unloaded more on her, she fell there.” Verrone’s daughter initially thought the shots were fireworks, which isn't such an uncommon thing around this time of year.

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3. Formisano and his wife were in the process of divorcing.

Formisano has been living with relatives since the separation. According to court records, he told police that he went to the Jefferson house to drop off eyeglasses for one of their kids. Shortly before the shooting, he called the house to speak with Christie. When she noticed a flashlight outside the residence, she locked the bedroom door with T.S. inside and shouted, “He’s got a gun, call 911.” Formisano then broke down the bedroom door and attacked and shot T.S. multiple times. Christie fled and tried to get the attention of neighbors, but he caught up to her on the front porch of a house two doors away and shot her to death.

4. Formisano said he blacked out.

According to the affidavit, “After entering the residence, Formisano stated that he began to suspect that (Christie Formisano) had a male guest in the bedroom, at which point he ‘blacked out.’ He stated that he recalls firing his weapon numerous times at C.F. and T.S.” Now he faces charges of murder, attempted murder and endangering the welfare of children. He’s being held in a psychiatric unit at St. Claire’s Behavioral Health in Boonton, according to nj.com.

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5. Their children were in the house when the attack and shooting happened.

The Formisanos' young children were home when their father's outburst happened. They were unharmed, but definitely shaken up. It's unclear where exactly they were in the two-story suburban home (with a pool in the backyard) when he opened fire. From images on social media, it seems both children are young, a preschool-age son and elementary school-age daughter. “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," Newark Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose said in a statement.

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6. He didn't have a track record of this kind of behavior.

Formisano studied at Essex Catholic High School and Upsala College, according to his social media, and joined the Newark Police Department in 1995. According to a (kind of sketchy) blog, just a few months after graduating from the police academy, then patrolman Formisano stopped on a roadway to save the life of a man who was having trouble breathing. Years later, as a sergeant in 2018, he was heralded again for his efforts along with other officers in preventing a “suicide-by-cop attempt” by a 13-year-old child who was armed with a fake gun, according to a report.

I pray he's brought to justice, and also gets the mental help he needs.

Leah Scher is an ENFP finishing her degree at Brandeis University. She's an alumna of the Kenyon Review Young Writer's Workshop the Iowa Young Writers' Studio. She's passionate about Judaism, poetry, film, satire, astrology, spirituality, and sexual health.