Officers Honored for Response to Mountain Lakes Shooting
The mayor paid tribute to six officers 'for their heroism on that fateful day.'
Honors were given to seven Parsippany Police officers for what Mayor James Barberio called their "remarkable courage" in bringing the tragic October 2011 shooting at Exit Realty Gold in Mountain Lakes to a close. In the incident, real estate agent Leonard Parera murdered his co-worker Christine Capone King, told a 911 operator that he intended to "escalate" the crisis and lost his life after being gunned down during a firefight with police.
Mayor Barberio said the efforts of the Parsippany officers who joined the Mountain Lakes and Denville police departments as well as the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Tactical Team and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Response Team brought a close to the incident and prevented any other people from losing their lives.
The seven were presented with proclamations from the town, paying tribute to their bravery, devotion to duty and love for their community.
Receiving proclamations were:
- Detective Sgt. Richard Nicoletti was hired by the township in 1990 and was assigned to the Patrol Division. In 1999 he was assigned to the Investigative Division. He has served the department in the capacity of Firearms Instructor and is also a member of the department’s Honor Guard. He is the recipient of numerous awards including five Exceptional Duty Medals, eight Command Citations, a Lifesaving Award, and two Meritorious Service Medals from the Morris County Detective’s Association. In 2003 he was named Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by the Parsippany Rotary Club, and in 2005 the V.F.W. also named him Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. Nicoletti was promoted to sergeant in 2007 and has been assigned to the Investigative Division.
- Lt. John "Jay" Wieners was hired as a police dispatcher in 1997 and in July of 2000 was hired as a police officer. As a patrol officer he received a Lifesaving award and two Exceptional Duty awards. He has also served as a detective and detective sergeant with the Investigative Division. A graduate of Parsippany High School, Wieners earned a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Mansfield University and is currently pursuing a M.A. in Human Resources Training and Development in the New Jersey State Police Graduate Studies Program at Seton Hall University. He serves as the Domestic Violence Liaison Officer and Crisis Response Team supervisor and is currently assigned to the Patrol Division.
- Officer George Tsimpedes was hired as a police officer in 2007 and has been assigned to the Patrol Division. Prior to his appointment with Parsippany Police, Officer Tsimpedes was a Passaic County Sheriff’s Officer from 2005 until 2007 where he received a Lifesaving award and a Meritorious Duty award. As a Parsippany officer, he has been the recipient of a Lifesaving award and a Unit Commendation. Officer Tsimpedes is a graduate of St John’s University where he earned a B.A. in Criminal Justice/Business. He is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration from Farleigh Dickinson University.
- Officer Luke Costigan was hired as a police officer in 2004, and as a patrol officer he earned a Lifesaving Award. Officer Costigan has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and a second Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida.
- Officer Michael Ruggier was hired in 1986 and has always been assigned to the Patrol Division. He serves the department in the capacity of firearms instructor, ColtM4 Assault Rifle instructor, MP5 Subgun instructor and Field Training Officer. He is also the department’s Black Bear Officer Coordinator as well as a member of the Morris County Rapid Deployment Team and police department liaison to the Police Athletic League. Officer Ruggier is a six-time participant in the Police Unity Tour and traveled to New Orleans to participate in the Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort. He is a highly decorated officer with awards for Meritorious Duty, Exceptional Duty, Lifesaving and the State PBA Valor award.
- Officer Anthony Morelli graduated from the Passaic County Police Academy in August 2006 and was formerly employed by the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department. He was hired by Parsippany Police in 2008 and has been assigned to the Patrol Division where he was awarded two Command Citations as well as an Exceptional Duty award. Married with two children, Officer Morelli has a B.A. in Literature from S.U.N.Y. Purchase College.