A retired Newark police lieutenant arrested by Bloomfield police after a domestic violence incident fatally shot himself inside the township’s police headquarters Tuesday, authorities confirmed Wednesday.
Patrick Montella, who was expected to eventually be released on a summons, was being processed after his arrest when he shot himself, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement.
Montella, 58, was pronounced dead at University Hospital in Newark at 1:16 a.m. Wednesday, authorities said.
The prosecutor’s office, which is investigating Montella’s death, did not immediately specify where Montella obtained the gun or where he was located inside the building at the time of the shooting.
Jon Shane, a retired Newark police captain, said he worked closely with Montella in 1995, when they were both assigned to the West District Station. Shane had just been promoted to sergeant and said he sought advice from Montella, who had more years on the job.
“I learned a lot from Pat. I thought he was a decent guy. There was never any indication of anything like this,” Shane said, referring to the report of suicide.
“I thought he knew the job and was good at it,” Shane said. “We worked in a very tough precinct and he knew what he was doing. He was confident, you could approach him with questions.”
A woman who answered the phone at Montella’s home Wednesday declined to comment.
A spokesperson for the township deferred to the prosecutor’s office when asked for comment.
State pension records show Montella retired from the Newark Police Department in May 2011.
This is the second time in seven months that a detainee at a New Jersey police station has used a gun to commit suicide.
On June 22, Jermaine Covington, 41, of Maryland grabbed a gun out of an officer’s holster at the Hillside Police Department and shot himself to death, authorities said. The department has since banned guns from the processing, booking and cell areas of the police station. It’s not clear if Bloomfield police have any such policy.