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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 >>

  • Hgkellynkaden_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Prayers for this officer's family and especially for the officers who were forced to take his life. No one wants to be put in that kind of situation and I'm sure this is especially difficult for them.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago

    Sad story. Heart goes out the all the officers involved and the family of the officer who obviously needed some help.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    There is help available for those that are suffereing, but SOMEONE needs to reach out. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE look at yourself, or fellow co-workers. Weve ALL seen the signs: anti-social behavior; isolation; substance abuse (drugs or alcohol); problems at home. We are the first and last lines of defense for the general public but we must make our co-workers our priority!

    My heart brakes for everyone involved. But there is help. Safe Call Now is a not-for-profit organization in WA State that offers crisis referal services for drug and alcohol abuse and any type of counseling you might need. AND, by law it is STRICTLY confidential. PLEASE reach out. There is always a member of public safety available to talk to you 24/7 365. Had I called them BEFORE a series of poor choices, I am 100 percent convinced that they could have helped me. I have seen it help others...

    Be Safe

  • Id


    over 3 years ago


    I can't imagine the pain of having to end the life of one of my own officers, justified or not. My sympathies to the men/women who were dealt with those cards and will be haunted forever. A "job well done", I'm sure does not feel like a job well done. I am so sorry for you and hope you will find the answers you need to be okay. I am also sorry for the family of Sgt Powell and hope that the law enforcement community does not abandon them, especially the children of an LEO, who may not understand why their Dad is gone.

    Goodnight Sgt Powell. Thank you for your service. God help the rest of us to make it through this.

  • -0-_max50


    over 3 years ago


    tragic for everyone involved. . .and it proves that, regardless of the uniform, badge or weapon, any of us can be just as flawed as any citizen. we're all prey to the same emotions, weaknesses and fears. i feel for the families, and the agency. . .

  • Pug_max600_max50


    over 3 years ago


    A tragedy and death that did not solve problems, only leaving holes in many hearts and destroying lives. Prayers and Peace to all involved in this senseless event.

  • Thin_blue_line_max50


    over 3 years ago


    What a tragic day for law enforcement, Our thoughts and prayers are with all involved in this tragedy.

  • Picture_41_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Sad situation, very bitter for those responding officer's. My heart goes out to all those officer's out there that are dealing with the same personal crisis at home. Get help if you need it!!, don't become a stat. We all need a little help sometime, just to move on. It will always be a difficult job and sometimes you carry that pain or anger home and don't release the demon's. It is hard for the spouse of an officer to truly understand the pressure we are under. I retired after 25 years of service and actually feel better than I have in a long time. To all my my brothers and sisters out there may God bless and keep you safe!!

  • North_carolina_charlotte_police_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Law Enforcement Officers spend every day attempting to help others solve there problems when we have problems of our own. We look and try to find help for those we serve but will not seek that same help for ourselves. Being a police officer is a job where you see and do things that are not usual. For some, it makes us numb. For others, it will make us cry. We all call it part of the job but we do not handle it the same as those around us.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    Rest in peace. What a tragic situation.

  • Img_1347a_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Taking one’s life is never a good answer; lives will be scared forever.

  • Munz_max50


    over 3 years ago


    tragic for everyone involved

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    This was a difficult situation and a day that did not end well for all involved. For Sergeant Powell, a stressful job combined with a stressful marriage that just ended. For the responding officers, a stresful situation that ended with an officer forced to fire on a brother officer. Let's look out for each other. If you see a brother officer struggling with life's stresses, get him/her some help. Maybe situations like this can be prevented. Maybe we can save a brother officer's life. And maybe we can't. But we can rest better knowing that we tried. Lets look after the officer that was forced to fire the fatal shot. He will need us. May God comfort and bless all those involved and may God comfort and bless Sergeant Powell's family. May God have mercy on your soul, Sergeant Powell.

  • Dscn0533_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Dedicate to Sgt. David Powell, SWAT Team Commander,

    When a United States Hero is taken down by others in the line of duty, a "sad tragedy" doesn't begin to describe the events - mostly what lead up to the event, and not the event itselt.My sincerest condolences to the Men and Women of the very SWAT team that Sgt. Powell trained, was proud of, and loved are all I can offer. I urge that EVERYONE - not just LEOs - learn from this incident. In the newspaper report, it mentions neighbors who "saw this coming" - but did ANYONE DO ANYTHING TO CONTACT SUPERVISING AUTHORITIES regarding their concerns?

    Just 18 months ago, I had to do just that - but not with a LEO - it was the Assistant Fire Chief of a huge metropolitan Fire/Rescue Squad. I had watched this man literally deteriorate in front of my very eyes and it scared the living daylights out of me that he was in charge of over 80 squad members who had no idea that, tucked away in his idyllic-appearing home, was a spouse who had tried to kill him 3 times with a handgun. At first, I begged him to seek private help. Then asked that he take a short sabatical to get things worked out at home. Then, I got out the big guns and called the Fire Chief. He was absolutely stunned, shocked, overwhelmed - say what you will - that such violence was a nighly event in his own Assistant's home. HE BELIEVED ME and took the kindest, most appropriate actions to get him immediate help, remove him from the home, and did it all without ONE PERSON UNDER THIS MAN'S SUPERVISION ever finding out. Above all we wanted his dignity to remain in tact. Within two weeks, he was a new man. Sure, there were other legal things to work through - but he's maintained his professional status within the Department. I KNOW that firefighters and LEOs are DIFFERENT - but they do have some similarities and I will never regret what I did. [NOW, he didn't speak to me for a good month and it took about 6 months for a "friendship" to be formed again - but it did and it's stronger than ever. But I'd risk a friendship in a New York minute if I thought that a friend of mine was close to taking his own life - or letting someone else take his.] Look out for your neighbors. Especially those is stressful occupations. And NEVER ASSUME THAT HIS/HER BUDDIES ON THE FORCE are going to "get them some help." They might have absolutely NO IDEA that the person needs help. LEOs can be very good actors - those of us in any form of the justice pyramid are TRAINED to be.

    I hope what's written below, may be of some comfort to those who worked along side him, loved him and are now left to mourn:

    Not how did he die, but how did he live?
    Not what did he gain, but what did he give?
    These are the units to measure the worth
    Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.
    Not, what was his church, nor what was his creed?
    But had he befriended those really in need?
    Was he ever ready, with word of good cheer,
    To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?
    Not what did the sketch in the newspaper say,
    But how many were sorry when he passed away.

    RIP - Your Demons, Fears, Sadnesses and Disappointments are now gone...

  • Car_004_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Bless the officers that were forced into taking down one of their own, job well not doubt yourselves, you had no choice. Bless the family and friends of Sgt Powell especially the children. RIP Sgt Powell, as a brother I ask God to forgive you and Bless your soul. The stresses of the job, family and other demons can build until to the officer there is no other choice. Let Sgt Powell be a reminder for those that are asking how he could do this.........any one of us could be pushed to this point. We also need to be there for each other and watch for the signs. God Bless all.

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