John Formisano: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Newark Police Lt. John Formisano

Facebook screenshot Newark Police Lt. John Formisano arrested for killing estranged wife and injuring her boyfriend.

Newark, New Jersey Police Lt. John Formisano has been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of his estranged wife and the non-fatal shooting of her male companion, according to police and local reports. Reports indicate Formisano opened fire while the couple’s children were at home.

The killing occurred in a Jefferson Township, New Jersey neighborhood late Sunday. Police in that town posted to social media early Monday morning that there was a “serious incident” in a neighborhood but that there was no danger to the community.

Formisano is a 24-year police veteran, according to reports and his Facebook page.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Initially, Police Said There Was a Serious Incident Crime Scene & Information Would Come From the Prosecutor’s Office

The Jefferson Township Police posted to Facebook at around 5 in the morning Monday that “due to an ongoing police crime scene investigation, very limited information can be released at this time, but there was a serious incident that occurred late Sunday night in the White Rock section of Jefferson,” police wrote.

“There is no danger to the public. Part of Mirror Place will be closed in order to complete the investigation. More information will be released by the Morris County Prosecutor Office at the appropriate time.”

2. Monday Morning, the Morris County Prosecutor Simply Confirmed the Shooting & Did Not Identify the Victims or Formisano

Five hours later, the Morris County Prosecutor posted on Facebook that police responded to a “shots fired” call at a house on Mirror Place in Jefferson Township at around 11:20 p.m.

“The fatality of one adult female has been confirmed. An adult male also sustained serious injury during this incident. At this time, the identities of these individuals will not be released.”

According to NBC New York, the boyfriend was in “critical condition.”

It was not immediately clear if the boyfriend, as described by local media, was also shot.

3. A Report Early Monday Morning Confirmed That the Newark Police Lieutenant Was Arrested & That His Children Were in the House During the Shooting But Were Unharmed

New Jersey media reported that Formisano was “taken into custody at his parents’ house in Livingston at around 2 a.m., a spokeswoman for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office said.”

Reporters said police confirmed that the 24-year police veteran shot and killed his estranged wife and her “boyfriend.” Some reports indicate that she was his “ex-wife,” though it’s not clear what the status of their marriage was.

Reports indicate that the children were all in the house located in the Oak Ridge section of Jefferson Township. The shooting was reported to have occurred at around 11:30 p.m. Sunday. Based on social media images, both are young children; a preschool-age son and elementary school-age daughter.

NBC New York reported the children were “unharmed.”

4. Formisano, a Newark Cop Since 1995, Was Called a ‘Hero’ in 1996, Was Suspended For 35 Days in 1999 & Commended in 2018 For Thwarting a 13-Year-Old’s ‘Suicide-by-Cop Attempt’

It’s been reported that Formisano, 49, who is employed as a Newark Police Department lieutenant, was off-duty when the shooting occurred.

Formisano, who studied at Essex Catholic High School and Upsala College, according to his social media, joined the Newark Police in 1995. In 1996, according to a blog, just a few months out of the police academy, then patrolman Formisano, also then off-duty, stopped on a roadway to save the life of a man who was having trouble breathing.

john formisano

Many years later, according to state records, Formisano was suspended for 35 days by Newark police in 1999 “on charges,” but what those charges were is as of yet not clear. A report from the New Jersey Civil Service Commission reads that Formisano and another officer were appealing their “35-day suspensions beginning March 8, 1999.” An administrative law hearing was held before a judge, state documents read. That judge decided the suspensions should be vacated, documents show, but state civil service officials disagreed, though did reduce the suspension to five days.

Formisano, when a sergeant in 2018, was heralded for his efforts along with other officers in preventing a “suicide-by-cop attempt” by a 13-year-old child who was armed with a fake gun, according to a report.

Reporting to a call of an attempted suicide, police arrived and were told by the boy’s family that he “had a fake gun in his waist with intentions on pointing it toward them in an attempt to commit suicide by cop,” it was reported. Police were “able to convince the juvenile to voluntarily surrender the weapon without incident,” and Formisano and other officers were praised.

“Suicide by cop is an attempt to provoke a deadly response from police officers,” police brass said at the time. “This is the desired outcome in such situations, with the collaborative efforts of the juvenile’s family and the police, it ended without incident.” A police captain, Formisano, other officers and the boy’s family were commended for working together “to bring this incident to a happy resolve.”

5. Formisano & His Estranged Wife Married 8 Years Ago, He Wrote on Facebook. They Had a Christmas Family Photo Taken December 2018

John Formisano

Formisano and his wife Christie Solaro married eight years ago, according to a post he wrote on his Facebook page. In Facebook posts the couple posed together with their two children for a Christmas portrait.

The Jefferson Township, New Jersey home where Formisano is alleged to have shot and killed his wife is located around 40 miles northwest of Newark.

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