Passaic County prosecutor’s detective killed himself in home, authorities say

North Jersey – by Stefanie Dazio

WOODLAND PARK — Before a Passaic County prosecutor’s detective shot and killed himself in his home on Tuesday, many police officers and a SWAT team had amassed outside his home to try to talk him out of it, jolting neighbors and leaving them wondering what prompted the large response.

Detective Sergio Mella, who had served in the prosecutor’s office since 2007, was found dead inside the Grandview Avenue house after 6 p.m, Prosecutor Camelia Valdes said in a statement on Wednesday morning. He had shot himself with his service weapon, the statement said.  

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Woodland Park police went to the house “after receiving information that he was in distress,” Valdes said, though she did not say who called police. Borough police and members of the Passaic County Sheriff’s SWAT team negotiated with him, but found his body when they went inside the prosecutor’s statement said. No one else was in the house.

His death is under investigation by the medical examiner, Valdes said.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the Mella family,” she said. “We thank you for your prayers and support as we work through the shock of this loss.”

The events leading up to the shooting had prompted curiosity and worry among neighbors, as authorities closed off a large area around the detective’s house, and at one point on Tuesday night, about 10 uniformed and plainclothes officers and detectives gathered at the intersection of Highview Drive and Grandview in an emotional display of mutual support, many of them embracing each other. Some of them seemed to be on the verge of tears.

Neighbors said police first showed around 4 p.m. and they subsequently heard a loud bang, several saying it sounded like a flash grenade, as a SWAT team broke into the house after 6 p.m. A neighbor on Highview Drive, overlooking the Grandview Drive house, said it was “some sort of projectile” that the SWAT team launched through a first-floor rear window at to break into the home.

The SWAT team had been called in by Woodland Park police at 5:26 p.m., said Bill Maer, the sheriff’s department spokesman.

Mella had moved into the house about two years ago, said a neighbor, Ada Cercone. At the time, she said, he lived with a woman who also worked at the Prosecutor’s Office, but the woman has since moved out.

Several neighbors said the car that Mella used as a prosecutor’s detective had been parked in front of the house for several days. Cercone said that Mella had come home at 1 p.m. on Tuesday and gone inside his house. Another neighbor, Mark Batitto, said he had not seen Mella since Saturday and the lights in the house had not been turned on during that time.


3 thoughts on “Passaic County prosecutor’s detective killed himself in home, authorities say

  1. Good. One less stinkin’ pig for us to deal with. It’s too bad he didn’t take a few of his pig friends with him.

    When we get the whole story, we’ll find out he was about to be charged with having sex with a child, dealing meth, forcible rape, multiple robberies, and every other example of why our country is screwed up.

    The only thing bad about a pig killing himself is him not doing it soon enough. Hopefully there will be copycats.

    Go ahead. Shoot yourself in the head, pig-boy. Everyone hates you because you’re a lying, thieving, raping, looting and pillaging, pig piece of trash, so just put your useless self out of everyone else’s misery right now.

    1. “It’s too bad he didn’t take a few of his pig friends with him.”

      My very first thought, JR.

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