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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.”

 

Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detectives Showcase K-9, Bomb And Crime Detection Skills At Hanover Youth Public Safety Academy

Participants of the Hanover Youth Public Safety Academy received captivating overviews from Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9, Bomb Squad and Crime Scene Investigation detectives about the jobs they perform daily.

Participants of the Hanover Youth Public Safety Academy with Morris County Sheriff's Office Detective Bryan Bailey and Hanover Township police officers and firefighters on July 12.
Participants of the Hanover Youth Public Safety Academy with Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Bryan Bailey and Hanover Township police officers and firefighters on July 12

During the Sheriff’s Office demonstrations on July 12, one youth participant of the two-week academy had his water bottle scoped out and gripped by the arm of a miniature Icor robot used by Bomb Squad detectives. All 12 participants got to pet and pamper Cinders, a Belgian Malinois who specializes in accelerant detection and is partnered with Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Section Detective John Granato.

The Hanover Youth Public Safety Academy – run by retired Hanover Detective Sergeant Thomas Quirk, the township’s current assistant recreation director and Office of Emergency Management Coordinator – gives youths the chance to consider future careers by observing and learning from township police officers, firefighters, emergency medical services and emergency management professionals.

Members of the Hanover Youth Public Safety Academy lavish attention on Cinders, a Morris County Sheriff's Office canine trained to detect accelerants at suspected arson scenes. K-9 Cinders' handler, Sheriff's Office Detective John Granato, stands at left.
Members of the Hanover Youth Public Safety Academy lavish attention on Cinders, a Morris County Sheriff’s Office canine trained to detect accelerants at suspected arson scenes. K-9 Cinders’ handler, Sheriff’s Office Detective John Granato, stands at left.

Morris County Sheriff’s Office CSI Detective Bryan Bailey gave the youths an overview of evidence collection and a tour of the crime scene command vehicle typically brought to the scenes of major investigations.

Sheriff’s Office K-9 Section Detective David Marshall, who also is trained in bomb detection, demonstrated how a miniature robot equipped with cameras and remote-controlled by a detective operator is used to approach and enter areas where explosives are suspected of being planted.

The robot, Detective Marshall said, can open doors and peer through windows, helping to protect the lives of emergency responders.

Morris County Sheriff's Office K-9 Spike apprehends Sheriff's Office Detective Marc Adamsky at the command of Detective John Granato during a demonstration July 12 at the Hanover Youth Public Safety Academy.
Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Spike apprehends Sheriff’s Office Detective Marc Adamsky at the command of Detective John Granato during a demonstration July 12 at the Hanover Youth Public Safety Academy.

Detective Marshall also showed the youth participants the heavy Kevlar suit that detectives in the Bomb Squad wear if they approach a suspicious package, vehicle or building.

Sheriff’s Office K-9 Section Detective John Granato, accompanied by K-9 partner Spike, a German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois mix, described for the youths the lengthy process of training a dog to scout for missing people, sniff out narcotics or accelerants, and apprehend a suspect, if necessary.

Morris County Sheriff's Office K-9 Section and Bomb Squad Detective Dave Marshall demonstrates the maneuverability of a miniature robot used as a tool in explosives investigations.
Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Section and Bomb Squad Detective Dave Marshall demonstrates the maneuverability of a miniature robot used as a tool in explosives investigations.

Playing the role of an uncooperative suspect, Sheriff’s Office K-9 Detective Marc Adamsky donned a protective sleeve and refused to obey Detective Granato, who gave Detective Adamsky three chances before commanding Spike to run after and apprehend him.

Hanover Township Firefighters Paul Perrello and Lt. Michael Belott, and Hanover Township Police Officers Rich Camasta and Megan Pritchard were among the instructors working with the Academy participants on Friday.

 

Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Detective Teams With Morris County Park Police To Find Missing Person At Silas Condict Park In Kinnelon

Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Section Detective John Granato successfully teamed with the Morris County Park Police to locate a man who fell asleep off a hiking trail in the densely-wooded Silas Condict Park in Kinnelon.

Morris County Sheriff's Office K-9 Section Detective John Granato with K-9 partner Spike.
Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Section Detective John Granato with K-9 partner Spike.

Detective Granato and his K-9 partner Spike, a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd mix, were requested by the Park Police to assist in a search for the owner of a vehicle that was seen in a Silas Condict Park parking lot about an hour after the Morris County-owned park named for a Revolutionary War patriot had closed for the day.

Park Police Officer Anthony Brunone spotted the vehicle the night of July 9 while making a security check at the park. The scenario that unfolded – the discovery of a car, the missing operator, personal items left in the vehicle –  mirrored a simulated search and rescue training operation jointly conducted on June 26 by the Morris County Sheriff’s Office and the Morris County Park Police.

Morris County Sheriff's Office K-9 Detective John Granato with K-9 partner Spike.
Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Detective John Granato with K-9 partner Spike.

Detective Granato responded to the park around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday with K-9 Spike, who scouted the area for nearly 90 minutes and did not locate a trail of human scent.

Close to 1 a.m. on Wednesday, July 10th, Detective Granato let Spike take a rest as Spike had already responded to two others calls – a missing juvenile and a burglary.  Detective Granato and Morris County Park Police Officer Bryan Petitt trekked up a dirt trail that hadn’t previously been searched.  They then saw indications that the missing driver had been on the trail and continued their search with the aid of flashlights.

Off one side of the trail is a sixty foot drop down to a pond.  On another side of the trail, about 20 feet down, Detective Granato said, he noticed a pair of feet and pants in his flashlight beam. He yelled out the man’s name but received no reply.

Detective Granato shouted again and saw the man – later identified as the adult operator of the vehicle – startle awake. Detective Granato said that he and Officer Petitt assisted the uninjured man out of the wooded nook he had selected as a nap site, up the incline to the trail, and then to the parking lot.

Morris County Sheriff's Office K-9 Detective John Granato with K-9 partner Spike
Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Detective John Granato with K-9 partner Spike.

 

The located driver told the officers he went to the park to watch the sunset and fell asleep, never realizing how late it had gotten. Morris County Park Police Lieutenant Chris List said the driver was examined by the Kinnelon Emergency Medical Squad and driven home.

Detective Granato said he is grateful the driver was not hurt, as he might have been had he tried to leave the park in the dark and accidentally tumbled down a hill into the pond.

“This search that ended happily is a perfect example of the seamless, mutual aid relationship the Morris County Sheriff’s Office has with the Morris County Park Police. While K-9 Spike was resting, the officers showed their concern by continuing their search until the driver was found,” Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon said.

“This was great team work,” Lieutenant List said.

Lieutenant List said the search at Silas Condict Park was the second of the day for the Morris County Park Police. Earlier on Tuesday, they received a cell phone call from an injured bicyclist at another county-owned park. The bicyclist was found and transported to safety by Morris County Park Police Officers using ATVs and a rescue trailer, Lieutenant List said.