Off-duty Clifton cop barricaded in Pa. home shoots
Clifton police officer Richard Klementovich, 42, barricaded himself in the home of his estranged-wife and fired multiple rounds from a rifle at police, injuring at least one officer
Police vehicles were hit by bullets and petrified neighbors hid in their basement as authorities tried to negotiate a peaceful settlement. But the standoff continues into the night.
Doylestown Borough and Township police responded to the home on Bittersweet Drive shortly before 2 p.m. today after a report of a dispute between two neighbors, according to David Mettin, chief of the Pennridge Regional Police Department. It remained unclear last night if a dispute ever took place or it was merely a ploy to draw police to the scene.
Soon after police arrived, Klementovich opened fire, striking and disabling two police cruisers, Mettin said.
Cpl. William Doucette was injured when shrapnel ricochetted off the curb and struck him in the face. He was taken to a local hospital and released later in the day, Mettin said.
Police canvassed the neighborhood about a half hour after the first shots were fired, telling residents to flee their homes and seek safety at the township municipal building. Those who could not get out of their homes were told to stay in their basements.
“There may be several weapons inside the home,” Mettin told reporters, as the Father’s Day standoff moved into its eighth hour. “A resolution to this incident may take some time.”
Klementovich was alone in the home, police said, but no motive for the tense standoff was revealed.
A police negotiator was on scene throughout the afternoon and continued speaking with Klementovich into the night, though Mettin would not comment on what was discussed.
Around 9:30 p.m., a detective told residents, who were camped out at the municipal building that police strategy was to negotiate as long as they could to try and keep Klementovich alive.
Lydia Dibble, 51, was sitting on her deck on Windsor Road a few hundred yards away when she heard what she thought were fireworks, loud pops that cut through the air.
“And then I heard them again,” she said, “and I thought, ‘those are not fireworks.’”
A police officer was soon outside her home asking her to leave.
Dan Boerner, who lives a few doors down from where the shooting is taking place, said his wife and two sons took cover in the basement, communicating with him via text message because police did not allow anyone back into the area.
Boerner said his son told him he heard 18 to 20 shots fired.
“My wife is a wreck and my two sons are scared,” he said today.
Rosann Marabella, who lives three homes from where the shooting is taking place and was camped out at the municipal building, said she did not think much of it when she first heard shots.
There is a gun club nearby, she said, but then she heard rapid fire and screeching wheels. Police, wearing flak jackets, banged on her door and told her to evacuate her home.
None of the neighbors could say much about the alleged assailant. It is unclear if he ever lived there or if the home had been solely occupied by his estranged wife.
Clifton police Sgt. Robert Bracken said members of his department were on scene, trying to help local authorities end the standoff. He declined to say anything else about Klementovich’s service or mental state.
Klementovich, an 18-year law enforcement veteran, made $114,560 in 2011, according to state records, A U.S. Army veteran, Klementovich served during the Persian Gulf War as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, according to news clips from the 1990s.
Less than 24 hours before the shooting, Klementovich took to Facebook to post an album of nearly 40 photos from his time in the military.
In 1991, Klementovich was quoted in a Philadelphia Inquirer story about the Gulf War as saying, “They don’t have a chance,” and “We’re going to do him in,” referring to Saddam Hussein.
On his mortar, Klementovich wrote “Saddam is going to die,” according to the paper.
Star-Ledger staff writers Tom Martello, Dan Goldberg, Eric Sagara, James Queally and Amy Brittain contributed to this report.
Posted on June 18, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged Doylestown Pennsylvania, Facebook, Gulf War, Klementovich, Philadelphia Inquirer, Police, Police officer, Saddam Hussein. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.