A New Jersey police lieutenant accused of fatally shooting his estranged wife and wounding her new boyfriend Sunday night told authorities he “blacked out” before spraying bullets, according to a probable cause affidavit.
John Formisano, 49, has been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and endangering the welfare of the two children he shared with his 37-year-old wife, Christie Formisano. The story was first reported by NJ.com.
Shortly before the July 14 shooting, Formisano called his estranged wife at their Newark home, where she was staying with their two children during the couple’s divorce proceedings, an affidavit obtained by The Daily Beast states.
After the phone call, Christie Formisano told her 40-year-old boyfriend, who was identified in court papers as “T.S.,” that “she saw a flashlight” and believed her husband was near the home. She then “exited the bedroom and locked the door behind her.”
T.S. told police he then heard her yell “he’s got a gun” and “call 911," before the off-duty Newark police officer “broke down the bedroom door and fired a handgun in his direction, shooting T.S. numerous times” in the thigh, hand, arms, and abdomen,” according to the court papers.
Both of the couple’s children, who were not identified, were inside the home when the incident occurred.
Police say Christie Formisano then fled the house and tried to seek refuge in her neighbors’ homes—but her husband chased her down the street, catching her outside the front porch of a house two doors down. That’s where he fatally shot her “multiple times,” authorities said.
Formisano, who left the scene and was arrested in a parking lot about 30 miles away, told police that he simply went to the house to “drop off glasses” for one of their kids, as he was living with relatives.
“After entering the residence, Formisano stated that he began to suspect that [Christie Formisano] had a male guest in the bedroom, at which point he ‘blacked out,’” the affidavit states.
Despite the memory lapse, the 49-year-old police veteran said he “recalls firing his weapon” at his estranged wife and her boyfriend, according to the affidavit. Authorities said that when he was apprehended around 2 a.m., his handgun was found in the trunk of his car.
Authorities responded to the Newark home after receiving several reports of shots fired at around 11:45 p.m. Officers found Christie Formisano “laying on the front porch steps” of a nearby home, and she later died from gunshot wounds to the abdomen, arm, leg, hand, and head, the affidavit states. Her boyfriend was inside the house with “serious bodily injury,” and his condition was not immediately available.
John Formisano is being held for psychiatric evaluation, authorities said, and has yet to enter formal pleas to the charges against him. Newark Police told The Daily Beast that the lieutenant, who has been on the force since 1985, has been suspended without pay.
It was not immediately clear if Formisano has an attorney.