Police: NJ Cop Kills 5 Neighbors

April 10, 2002

DOVER TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) - A veteran police officer went on a rampage in two New Jersey towns, killing five of his neighbors and wounding two people, police said.

Authorities were searching early Wednesday for Edward Lutes, a Seaside Heights police officer for 15 years. He remained at large in a blue 1995 Buick Regal.

``We do believe he's armed with firearms,'' said Dover Township Police Chief Michael Mastronardy.

The shootings started in Dover Township around 10 p.m. Tuesday in two homes.

Two of the unidentified victims were in a house located next door to Lutes' home and the other three victims were in a house across the street.

A sixth person was wounded and taken to Community Medical Center in Toms River. It was not immediately known where the victim was at the time of the shooting.

Lutes later went to nearby Barnegat Township and shot Seaside Heights Police Chief James Costello, Mastronardy said. He was hospitalized in stable condition at Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune.

Mastronardy and Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor Gregory Sakowicz could not give a motive for the shootings.

When asked if Lutes might be going after other targets, Mastronardy said all precautions have been taken for anyone who could be a threat.

Doug Mayday, 37, who also lives in Lutes' neighborhood, said he was driving when a police officer in riot gear ran out of bushes and waved him through. He also saw police with rifles drawn in the vicinity of the shooting.

The initial shootings happened about a mile from the street where a retired police officer is accused of killing four people in February.

John E. Mabie is charged with four counts of murder for killing his granddaughter and three neighbors on Feb. 21 as he went from house to house shooting a .39-caliber revolver.

``It's just a sad time for the community,'' Mastronardy said.


NJ Town Retraces Steps in Shooting

April 13, 2002

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 investigation.

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 living room.

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 targets.

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 started driving.

``You have no idea in the world how frightened we were,'' he said.

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 .40-caliber pistol.

``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.'' 

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