LIVINGSTON, NJ — The day after Livingston police officers assisted in the arrest of Newark Police Lt. John Formisano—who was charged with first-degree murder in the Sunday night shooting death of his estranged wife—Livingston Police Chief Gary Marshuetz provided further details about the arrest and commended the responding officers for their efforts.
"First and foremost, this is truly a tragedy, and on behalf of all the men and women of the Livingston Police Department, our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families," said Marshuetz. "The Livingston Police Department has mixed feelings over the incident because it was truly a tragic event, but we are also pleased that we were able to make the custodial arrest of the suspect without any further loss of life…I'm very proud of the courage and professionalism with which our officers conducted themselves. This is a sad situation all around, but the officers did a great job here and I think it needs to be said.”
According to the chief, Formisano had been living with a family member in Livingston after separating from his wife. After Jefferson Township police provided them with information about the possible location of the shooting suspect, Livingston officers were able to locate Formisano in Livingston and arrest him without incident. According to authorities, a handgun was located in his vehicle at the time of his arrest, which occurred just before 2 a.m. on Monday.
“He lives in Livingston, but he was not near his home, so we were able to saturate and search the area around Heritage Middle School,” said Marshuetz. “The suspect's vehicle was located traveling on Foxcroft Drive and officers conducted a motor vehicle stop. The suspect stopped for the officers and at that point complied with their verbal commands and was taken into custody…
“Once he complied with the officers' commands and was taken into custody, we do not believe there was any additional threat to the public’s safety. Had there been any further threat or even uncertainty about the public's safety, we would have certainly communicated that with the public.”
At approximately 11:20 p.m. on Sunday, officers of Jefferson Township responded to reports of shots fired and later confirmed the death of the suspect’s 37-year-old estranged wife, Christine Formisano, when they found her laying on the front porch steps of a neighbor’s home.
In addition to the murder charge, Lt. Formisano also faces charges for the attempted murder of a 40-year-old male who survived multiple gunshot wounds in the same incident as well as two counts of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, according to the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO). The MCPO, which is handling the investigation, noted that two children on scene at the time of the shooting were not injured.
Property records show that the suspect owned the Mirror Place home in Jefferson where the male victim was found.
The police lieutenant has been on Newark’s police force for 24 years, according to the Newark Public Safety Department (NPSD). According to NPSD Director Anthony Ambrose, Formisano was not on disciplinary action prior to the incident.
He also said members of the Newark police division “were shocked by the news of the shooting and we recognize this is a tragedy beyond comprehension for all involved.”
This investigation is ongoing and is being conducted by the MCPO.