New Jersey police officer killed after 10-hour standoff

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 28, 2011 5:19 PM
New Jersey police officer killed after 10-hour standoff

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A veteran New Jersey police sergeant was killed after he fired a submachine gun at a team of police officers that had surrounded his home in a tense 10-hour standoff, authorities said on Monday.

Claiming he was holding hostages and vowing to shoot any officer who approached, Sgt. David Powell, 46, barricaded himself in his Piscataway, New Jersey home on Sunday, said Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan.

"He stepped outside of his home onto his front porch ... and armed with a 9 mm submachine gun fired multiple shots," Kaplan said in a statement. "Police, concerned for the safety of the public and the safety of the possible hostages, fired shots in return."

Authorities were waiting on an autopsy to determine whether Powell was killed by the officers' return fire or a self-inflicted wound.

The incident started at about 3:30 p.m. Sunday, when Powell, a 22-year veteran of the police force in Piscataway, refused to report to police headquarters on an alleged violation of a restraining order, authorities said.

Kaplan and other officials declined to comment on local newspaper reports that the restraining order may have been connected to recent divorce proceedings.

Police cordoned off the streets around his home, and members of the Middlesex County Special Operations and Response Team were called in for reinforcement.

Powell declined to surrender in text messages and phone calls.

The shooting occurred about 7 p.m. Sunday. It wasn't until 1:40 a.m. on Monday that Powell was confirmed dead by police who entered the home after a bomb-detecting robot determined the building was safe. No hostages were present.

(Reporting by Bernd Debusmann Jr.; editing by Barbara Goldberg and Ellen Wulfhorst)