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Armed Officer Killed After 10-Hour Standoff With Police

Armed Officer Killed After 10-Hour Standoff With Police

The Star-Leger via YellowBrix

March 28, 2011

Update: 3/29/11

PISCATAWAY — As a commander of the Piscataway police SWAT team, Sgt. David Powell knew when to move in to save hostages and designed drills to teach other officers how to as well.

On Sunday, Powell, 46, was on the opposite side, barricading himself inside his house and declaring he had taken hostages.

Around 5 p.m., police cordoned off several blocks around 130 Parkside Ave., and the SWAT team Powell had once trained surrounded his house. While neighbors waited anxiously behind locked doors, members of the Middlesex County Special Operations and Rescue Team tried to negotiate with Powell, but he refused to surrender.

At 6:48 p.m. Powell, a 22-year veteran of the police force, stepped onto the front porch and sprayed shots from a 9mm submachine gun. Police, “concerned for the safety of the public and the safety of the possible hostages,” fired back, said Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan in a statement.

At 1:41 a.m. Monday Powell was declared dead inside the home, ending the seven-hour stand-off. Powell, a father of two, died of a gunshot wound, said Kaplan, who indicated ballistic tests will be done to determine which shot killed the former Piscataway policeman.

Police Chief Richard Ivone called Powell a decorated officer who was respected in the department and was most recently assigned as a road sergeant in the patrol division. However, Ivone said, “there was a domestic situation that led to tragedy.”

The incident began about 3:30 p.m. Sunday when police called and sent Powell text messages regarding a report that he had violated a restraining order, Kaplan said, although police did not disclose who reported the violation.

After nearly an hour, Powell, who was off-duty, refused requests to come to headquarters and said he was holding hostages, according to the prosecutor.

As officers continued to try and talk with Powell, investigators determined he was alone and there were no hostages, said Kaplan. A State Police Bomb squad robotic device was sent up to the front porch, helping officers decide if was safe to enter the home.

Powell, who had been a member of the Middlesex County SWAT team and a commander of the Piscataway SWAT team, lived in the house on Parkside Avenue for a nearly 20-year period, a time marked by disputes according to neighbors.

Wendy Richards, who lives two doors away from Powell, said she knew he had problems for several years, and he should have been given help.

“I’m extremely angry. This incident doesn’t surprise me. I really thought this would have blown up sooner. Imagine having to live two doors down from this,” said Richards, whose husband is a retired Piscataway police officer.

Representatives from the Cop2Cop counseling service for law enforcement were at the police department Monday, Ivone said. He said all township officers, including Powell were aware of the program, but it’s uncertain if Powell had called the counselors.

Powell’s son from his first marriage grew up in the house until his parents divorced more than 10 years ago, neighbors said. Powell had joint custody of the son, who graduated from high school last year, and a nine-year-old daughter with his second wife, according to neighbors.

Powell’s mother, when asked about her son, who grew up in Dunellen, said he had just gone through a difficult divorce. Her voice breaking with emotion, Diane Powell said he was “a loving father and a good son.” She ended a telephone call, saying she couldn’t talk any longer.

Kaplan said the state Attorney General’s Office was notified of the shooting, as required by state guidelines and that police were investigating the weapon used by Powell, and how he had obtained it.

Watch Raw Video from the Scene >>

  • Sfa_iv_max50


    over 1 year ago


    This is a great loss but shows the importants of a good inhouse Chaplaincy program that reaches out daily and works along with the department. There are many who would talk, but mighty thing they may lose their job, but a life is to be cherished. I pray for the Department LEOs and support staff in what action had to be taken, it not easy to dimiss.

  • Photo_user_banned_big


    about 3 years ago


    Interesting article - thanks for sharing with the community. Important to know these things.

  • 4a43d2b5_max50


    over 3 years ago


    i pray for all involved

  • 2783456796_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Tough day for that department and all the families involved. I hope the officers involved are able to cope with having to put one of their own down. My prayers will be with them.

  • Vivian_alone_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Heart goes out to this family .

  • Batman_max600_1__max50


    over 3 years ago


    Tragic, don't know what else to say.

  • June2010_013_max50


    over 3 years ago



  • Pavillion_sunrise_cropped_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Was it necesary to interview the grieving mother?

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    As heart breaking as it is, the bottom line is that the officer had problems, either he did not get help for fear of being looked on as weak, or he went over the edge with a short rope. In either case, the most advanced training goes into the physical and equipment portion of law enforcement training, I believe there is a serious lack of the mental health care of law enforcement. No matter how tough or iron man type you may believe you are, one day the loads and loads of internal hurt, pain, disappointments, divorces, deaths, will come out. We tend to forget that on the outside we may be the biggest baddest officer that ever strapped on a gun and badge, but only you know what is going on inside your head. Like a pressure cooker with a bad pop off valve, one day the soup in the pot spews over into those around you. I believe we need more mental health training in the way of what to expect, body dynamics, mental dynamics, and that it is all right to reach out for help. Each time we take the life of another, each time we have a "crack" baby die in our arms, each time we see the carnage in a vehicle accident where folks are dead, each time we see someone daughter or son go missing only to be found sometimes and not at all other times, all this stuff is etching itself upon the memory banks of our grey matter and it needs paid attention to. Good mental health is vital for survival, for any action or thought of and about life.

  • Joe_portrait_max50


    over 3 years ago


    sad story!!

  • Wolf_001_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I feel so sorry for his fellow Officers. They had no choice but it could not have been easy for them. Prayers for them all.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    GODSPEED to the officers that had no
    other choice but to neutralize the threat.
    Prayers to all the families and hopefully
    all will be able to move on.

  • Derrick_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Is it just people in general losing their minds, if you can not get alone with your better half just walk away. Prayers for all those involved, GOD BLESS.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago

    He made his choice and the officers at the scene had no choice but to make theirs. I hope everyone who was inolved is able to move on....

  • Bike2008-22_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Prayers to all involved, especially his brother Officers that he put into a horrible position. The sadest thing is we are always helping others when sometimes we should be helping ourselves and each other.

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