Morris County Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team Works Alongside Jefferson Police, Morris County Office of Emergency Management To Save Children and Wounded Adult Man in the Aftermath of Alleged Homicide in Jefferson Township

Members of the Jefferson Township Police Department, Morris County Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (SERT) and the Morris County Office of Emergency Management’s Special Operation Group (SOG) entered a Jefferson Township home early Monday morning to rescue two young children and provided potentially life-saving medical aid to a shooting victim – without having confirmed information regarding whether or not the alleged shooter was still inside the residence.

Vehicles used by the Morris County Office of Emergency Management Special Operations Group and the Morris County Sheriff's Emergency Response Team (SERT).
Vehicles used by the Morris County Office of Emergency Management Special Operations Group and the Morris County Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (SERT).

Years of high-level coordinated training between county law enforcement agencies, SERT and SOG were demonstrated around midnight on Sunday, July 14, 2019, when team members of both SERT and SOG arrived at 1 Mirror Place in the White Rock section of Jefferson Township in response to a reported shooting.

SERT and SOG immediately teamed up outside the residence along with other responding law enforcement officers.

A female shooting victim was deceased outside of a nearby home. The shooter’s current whereabouts were unknown at that time, but two children, both under the age of 10, were still inside the home along with a second adult male shooting victim, who was conscious but bleeding.

Based on the exigency of the situation, members of SERT and SOG formed a team, inclusive of Jefferson Township Police Department, and devised an emergency plan to enter the home, neutralize the shooter (if necessary), rescue the children, and render medical aid to the male victim along with any other individuals who may be injured inside the residence.

Upon entry into the residence, the team immediately cleared and secured a section of the home so life-saving medical aid could immediately begin on the male shooting victim. Communication was continuously maintained with dispatch and subsequently relayed to Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

The children were found physically unharmed and removed from inside the residence while SERT officers, including members of the Jefferson Township Police Department, continued to search and clear the home for the alleged shooter. Simultaneously, OEM/SOG medically treated the male victim which included successfully stopping all life threatening bleeding from critical wounds.

Authorities did not encounter the shooter inside the residence. Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp stated, in a previous July 15 press release, that the alleged shooter, identified as off-duty Newark Police Lieutenant John Formisano, 49, was later apprehended in Livingston.

Ultimately, the male victim was carried from inside the home to the Jefferson Township Rescue Squad ambulance that was waiting nearby with Paramedics from Saint Clare’s Hospital on board. The victim was promptly transported to the Morristown Medical Center Trauma Hospital, with OEM/SOG on board assisting with the medical care of the victim.

SERT is a team of highly-trained integrated group of officers from the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, Morris County Park Police, and municipal police departments that respond to emergencies and incidents where lives are imperiled.

SOG is a joint partnership between Morris County Office of Emergency Management and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, Morris County Chiefs of Police Association, Saint Clare’s Health, and Atlantic Health System. SOG is a basic and advanced life support medically integrated team that is solely committed to SERT members and embedded with team members on all deployments.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon applauded SERT, SOG, the Jefferson Township Police Department, and all of the police and EMS responders for their brave, focused and coordinated plan to save the children inside the residence and provide life-saving aid to the victim.

“I pray for Christine Formisano who tragically lost her life during this incident as well as the recovery of the survivors, and healing for their families who have suffered a terrible loss,” Sheriff Gannon said.

“I am very proud of the work of all the Morris County law enforcement agencies in their response, rescue, treatment of the survivors, and ultimate criminal investigation of this very tragic event.”

“Several units within the Morris County Sheriff’s Office responded to this incident in support of the Jefferson Township Police Department during the active shooting phase, the rescue mission, and the subsequent post gunfire investigation.”

“Post shooting,” Sheriff Gannon said, “our Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Team worked with the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and the Jefferson Township Police Department to process the crime scene, collect evidence and process vehicles and residences associated with this investigation. Our Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) team is the best in the business and they continue to do a phenomenal job.”