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Newark police lieutenant accused of killing estranged wife and wounding man

Officer charged in wife's shooting death

Jefferson, N.J. -- Authorities say an off-duty police lieutenant has been charged in the fatal shooting of his estranged wife and wounding of a man at a New Jersey home. Morris County prosecutors say Police Lt. John Formisano was arrested early Monday in Livingston, New Jersey, not long after the shooting occurred in Jefferson.

He was later charged with first-degree murder and first-degree attempted murder, among other charges. Officers say they had been responding to calls of shots fired when they found 37-year-old Christine Formisano, of Jefferson, dead on the home's front porch.

"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," neighbor Tom Verrone told CBS New York.

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A 40-year-old man was found inside the home with multiple gunshot wounds. Authorities say the gun believed to have been used in the shootings was found in Formisano's vehicle.

CBS New York has been told the couple's two young children 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.

Formisano fled to his mother's house in the area, CBS New York reported. It wasn't clear Monday evening whether Formisano has an attorney.

Newark Police say Formisano has been suspended without pay. 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."

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