DOVER TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) - Seaside Heights Police Chief
James Costello had just learned that one of his own officers had gunned down
five neighbors, and he was on his way out of his house to join the
Just then, a car pulled up in front, and the driver got
out and walked toward Costello, shooting.
``I heard boom, boom, boom, boom and then boom. I thought
it was firecrackers,'' said next-door neighbor Carole Segro, 50.
It was 9:45 p.m. Tuesday. Just over 12 hours later, police
veteran Edward Lutes Jr. was found dead of a gunshot wound in his car, parked in
a stranger's driveway. Five of his neighbors were dead of gunshot wounds and
Costello was hospitalized with bullet wounds in his legs and a wrist.
Costello said he could not explain the rampage: ``I really
don't know. He's a very close friend of mine,'' he said from his hospital room.
He was released from a hospital on Friday.
It was the second multiple slaying by a trained lawman
here in as many months. On Feb. 21, retired Newark police officer John W. Mabie
allegedly went from house to house, killing his granddaughter and three
neighbors. He has pleaded innocent.
Lutes, a 17-year Seaside Heights police veteran, had had
no recent angry exchanges with neighbors, no workplace disputes, but he had
openly feuded with neighbors and shooed children away from his neatly kept yard.
During the day Tuesday, he reported for his normal shift,
but left early to take his 8-year-old daughter to a doctor's appointment.
Just after 9 p.m., Lutes walked out of his two-story home
in a working-class neighborhood of modest houses originally built as summer
cottages in the seashore community.
Lutes, a weapons expert and SWAT team member, was carrying
his service-issue MP5 automatic assault weapon when he walked across the street
to the home of Dominick Galliano, 51, and his wife Gail, 49.
The Gallianos used to care for Lutes' daughter, but that
stopped in 1999 after Lutes accused Dominick Galliano of exposing himself to the
girl and telling her to touch him.
Galliano was acquitted of sex charges in January 2001, but
neighbors say Lutes never forgot.
He posted signs calling Galliano a pedophile, threw eggs
at the Gallianos' house, encouraged neighborhood children to vandalize the house
and was questioned by police for a series of tire slashings reported by both the
Gallianos and the Williams family, Lutes' next-door neighbors.
Lutes had other troubles, too. His wife had left several
years ago and he declared bankruptcy two years ago. Last year, his girlfriend
was killed when her pickup truck collided with a school bus.
On Tuesday, after crossing the street, Lutes shot the
Galliano's 25-year-old son, Christopher, when Christopher answered the door,
then hunted down Dominick Galliano in a bathroom and shot Gail Galliano in a
bedroom. Each died of multiple gunshot wounds.
Lutes crossed the street again, going to the home of
neighbors Gary Williams, 48, and his wife, Tina, 46.
Williams, who had testified as a defense witness at
Galliano's trial, was shot in his home office. Tina Williams was shot in their
The couple's son, Robert, 23, heard the shots from his
bedroom, went to investigate and encountered Lutes.
``Get over here, or you're next,'' Lutes told him.
Williams jumped out a rear window, cutting his foot and suffering a concussion.
While more than 100 law enforcement officers fanned out
searching for Lutes, Dover Township police notified people they feared might be
One of those who got a warning was Seaside Heights Mayor
Kenneth Hershey. He pulled his wife, daughter and two dogs into a car and
``You have no idea in the world how frightened we were,''
Robert Fischer was called. He was the bus driver involved
in the accident that killed Lutes' fiancee, Cindy Mansuy.
William Mansuy, her ex-husband, got a similar call and
ordered his three children to hide under a bed.
Lutes himself called a fellow police officer and said
another Seaside Heights officer was on his ``list.''
He also called his own house, apparently to say goodbye,
leaving a tape-recorded message for his daughter.
Sometime later, he shot himself in the head with a
``He can't be dead enough, as far as I'm concerned,'' said
Debra Smith, 42, the sister of victim Tina Williams. ``He took the cowardly way
out, but you know what? I'm glad he did. Now, we don't have to wait for a trial
and hear him claim insanity.''
©2004 The Police Policy Studies Council. All rights reserved. A Steve Casey design.