PISCATAWAY — A township police officer is dead after barricading himself in his home and allegedly threatening to kill any officer who approached the house, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan and Piscataway Police Chief Richard Ivone announced
Sgt. David Powell, 46, of Parkside Avenue, was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:41 a.m. today. He had been a Piscataway police officer for 22 years.
While the results of an autopsy are pending, officials have made a preliminarily determination that Powell was the victim of a gunshot wound. Ballistics tests will be performed to determine the source of the shot.
The incident began shortly after 3:30 p.m. on March 27, when Powell and members of the police department began exchanging phone calls and text messages asking him to report to police headquarters following a report that he violated a restraining order earlier in the day, authorities said.
According to authorities, shortly before 4:30 p.m., Powell, who was off-duty, said he would not report to headquarters and said he was holding hostages.
Police immediately sent officers to the residential neighborhood, cordoned off the streets surrounding Powell’s home and dispatched members of the department’s Emergency Services Unit and the Middlesex County Special Operations and Response Team, which is headed by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.
During this time, police continued to converse with Powell, who declined to surrender. He stepped outside of his home onto his front porch at 6:48 p.m. and, armed with a 9-millimeter submachine gun, fired multiple shots, authorities said.
Police, concerned for the safety of the public and the safety of the possible hostages, fired shots in return. Police continued attempts to communicate, unsuccessfully, with Powell. During this time, authorities were able to establish there were no hostages.
The New Jersey State Police Bomb Unit was notified and, at approximately midnight, sent a robotic device to take images of the front porch. Police determined it was safe to proceed to the house, which was secured. No one else was in the home and no one else was injured.
An investigation is continuing and officers remained at the scene throughout the morning, officials said.
Kaplan and Ivone thanked members of the Piscataway Police Department, its Emergency Services Unit and its commander, Sgt. Christian Young, the Special Operations and Response Team, and its commander, Detective Douglas Sprague of the Sayreville Police Department, the New Jersey State Police, and police from Dunellen, Edison and Rutgers University for their assistance.
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