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Edward L. LUTES Jr.





Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Police officer - Revenge
Number of victims: 5
Date of murders: April 9, 2002
Date of birth: 1959
Victims profile: Dominick Galliano, 51, his wife Gail, 49, and their son Christopher, 25 / Gary Williams, 48, and his wife Tina Williams, 46 (neighbors)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Dover, New Jersey, USA
Status: Committed suicide by shooting himself the same day

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Shooting Spree Cop Found Dead

Police: Officer Killed 5 Neighbors, Then Wounded Boss

April 10, 2002 - CBS News

A police officer killed himself after shooting to death five people and wounding his boss, shocking a community still reeling from an almost identical rampage in February.

The latest shootings happened a mile away from where a former police officer allegedly went from house to house killing four people.

"To do something like that, they snap," said resident Karen Picht, who accompanied her 12-year-old daughter to a bus stop Wednesday morning because she was concerned about her safety.

Edward Lutes, 42, was found dead in his car in the driveway of a Barnegat Township home about 10 a.m. Wednesday. Police said the Seaside Heights policeman killed five neighbors and shot his boss Tuesday night.

"There was a great deal of acrimony between Mr. Lutes and his neighbors," said Greg Sakowicz, the executive assistant Ocean County prosecutor. "Certainly, it wasn't a random shooting."

Dover Township Police Chief Michael Mastronardy said Lutes and a neighbor were involved in an Oct. 30 criminal mischief case. Mastronardy would not give details.

Teens who live in the neighborhood said Lutes told them to throw eggs at homes of people he called "enemies."

Sixteen-year-old Christine Woldanski said Lutes said, "If you guys don't do it, I'm going to do it later."

The kids said they didn't throw the eggs.

But 15-year-old Talia Garofano said she saw Lutes throw eggs himself at the side of the home of Dominick and Gail Galliano, who became his victims Tuesday night.

More than 100 police officers searched for 12 hours before Lutes' body was found slumped over in the driver's seat of his car in front of a house apparently chosen at random. Authorities said they did not know how long he had been dead. A handgun and MP5 were found in the car.

Police said Lutes went to the house of neighbors Dominick Galliano, 51, and his wife Gail, 49, killing them with several shots from the MP5. He also shot and killed the couple's son, 25-year-old Christopher.

Lutes then went to another neighbor's home and killed Gary Williams, 48, and his wife Tina Williams, 46, in their house. The couple's son, Robert, jumped out of a window and injured his ankle; police originally thought the 23-year-old man had been shot.

Lutes fled in his car to nearby Barnegat Township and shot Seaside Heights Police Chief James Costello twice in the leg and once in the wrist as he was leaving his house after hearing about the shootings, police said.

Costello was taken to Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune, where he was in satisfactory condition. From his hospital room Wednesday, Costello said he could not explain the rampage.

"I really don't know. He's a very close friend of mine," Costello said.

Acquaintances of the five slain people said both families were kind.

The Galliano family always had the best Halloween candy and always bought Girl Scout cookies, said Cara Reilly, 20.

Neighbors said the Williams family was quick to share a car pool for neighborhood kids and that their son, who survived the attack, worked at a local grocery store.

Seaside Heights Fire Chief Reece Fisher, who met Lutes when he was a firefighter in the 1980s, said Lutes was devastated last year when his girlfriend died in a car accident.

"He was able to come back to the job, but who is to say what was going on inside of him," Fisher said.

Neighbors stood outside the yellow police tape surrounding Lutes' beige, two-story house and speculated about what could have gone wrong.

Lutes lived with his 12-year-old daughter and other family members, neighbors said.

Friends described Lutes as a good police officer who took pride in his work. But some neighbors said Lutes was a disciplinarian, setting strict rules about when children in his house could eat snacks, how they could wash their hands and what toys they could play with.

"He'd stand with his mean face just watering his lawn like he was having a bad, bad day, always," Reilly said.

As a child, Reilly and her friends would avoid riding their bicycles past Lutes' home after Lutes yelled at a boy for crashing a bike into the back of his pickup truck, she said.

Thomas Aballo, a Toms River lawyer who represented Lutes and his father in separate bankruptcy filings several years ago, said the shootings took him by surprise.

Several years ago, Lutes discussed with Aballo problems he had with a department supervisor, Aballo said. Lutes did not pursue any legal action against the police, he said.

"During the time I knew him ... I would have absolutely no indication that he was capable of anything of this nature," Aballo said. "I never got the indication of anything but a dedicated officer and an overall good guy."

On Feb. 21, former Newark police officer John E. Mabie allegedly killed his granddaughter and three neighbors in the community with a .38-caliber revolver.

"It's a tragedy of the highest order," said William Polhemes, a former Seaside Heights police chief who knew Edward Lutes when he started as a summer officer.


Suspect Called Dedicated, But 'He Had a Lot of Losses'

By Robert Hanley - The New York Times

April 11, 2002

In his 17 years as a police officer in this coastal community, Edward L. Lutes Jr. exemplified meticulousness and efficiency, his friends said. He stayed physically fit with regular workouts, always showed up for work with a freshly pressed shirt and trousers, and favored a closely cropped crew cut.

Considered a weapons expert, he helped form the local Police Department's special assault team seven years ago. He regularly underwent training while continuing his patrol duties on a 7 a.m.-to-3 p.m. shift.

Friends said that Officer Lutes's disciplined nature made it impossible to fathom the murdererous Tuesday night rampage now attributed to him. The authorities said he killed five people, then shot his chief and finally took his own life.

''I'd like to give you a real prophetic statement but I can't,'' said Jim Loundry, the owner of a liquor store on the main commercial strip in Seaside Heights who said he had known Officer Lutes, 42, for 15 years. ''I'm just shocked. He didn't act like he was wound too tight. He was never like that. He used to joke around a lot. I just really don't know what happened to him.''

Despite the shock and disbelief among acquaintances, relatives said a series of setbacks in the last decade had left Officer Lutes mildly depressed.

His sister, Karen, and his step-sister, Lisa Smith, said Officer Lutes's emotional setbacks started in 1991 when his mother died of cancer at the age of 54. In March 1999, one of Officer Lutes's neighbors in nearby Toms River was charged with sexually assaulting the officer's daughter, now 11 years old. The neighbor, Dominick Galliano, 51, who was one of the people killed Tuesday night, was acquitted of the assault charges in January 2001.

Two months later, Officer Lutes's fiancée, Cindy L. Mansuy, was killed when a school bus hit her car in South Toms River.

''He had a lot of losses, one after another,'' Ms. Smith said. ''He never had time to recover. He never bounced back.''

Karen Lutes said her brother seldom talked about his feelings. ''He just holds too much in,'' she said.

''There was no indication he was this depressed,'' Ms. Lutes said.

Friends in Seaside Heights who knew Officer Lutes for years agreed that he had never mentioned anything about anxieties or losses.

Jimmy Bellio, a public works employee for 31 years, said that he had seen Officer Lutes on Monday and that the officer was looking forward to a trip to Atlantic City they were planning this weekend.

''He was a pretty decent craps shooter,'' Mr. Bellio said. ''He was always even keel. If there was something bothering him, nobody saw it. I don't think anybody saw this coming.''

The local fire chief, Reece Fisher, who said he had known Officer Lutes for 20 years, called the deaths a ''crushing blow.'' He said that although Officer Lutes had been devastated by his fiancée's death last year, ''he was still able to come back to the job,'' Mr. Fisher said. ''But who's to say what was going on inside. He was still the same friendly guy. Something had to be bothering him. It's just a shame he didn't try to talk to someone about it before it built up to this extent.''

At the Seaside Heights Town Hall, the borough administrator, John A. Camera, and the borough attorney, Jean Cipriani, said they had no inkling Officer Lutes was distraught.

''What went on in his head yesterday is a mystery,'' Ms. Cipriani said.

Mr. Camera said he believed Officer Lutes ''got along very well'' with his boss, James Costello, the police chief of Seaside Heights. Chief Costello lives about 20 miles from where the five Toms River neighbors were killed Tuesday night. Officer Lutes drove to the chief's home later, the authorities said, and shot the chief as he left to go help investigate the shootings.

But Officer Lutes's relationship with some neighbors was strained and acrimonious, said Gregory J. Sakowicz, the executive assistant prosecutor for Ocean County.

''There were several matters that were the subject of the ill-feelings,'' Mr. Sakowicz said. He refused to identify the neighbors with whom Officer Lutes feuded or describe the subjects.

Officer Lutes lived with his daughter, a new girlfriend and her daughter, in a two-story beige frame house in Toms River about five miles west of Seaside Heights.

Neighbors said he often walked neighborhood streets with his two pet dogs, and some described him today as stern and humorless. They said he was meticulous about his lawn and had little patience with children who walked on it.

Debra Woldanski, 42, recalled walking past Officer Lutes's home several months ago with her son when a frog in the boy's hand jumped free and went onto the lawn. When the boy chased after it, Officer Lutes came out of the house and screamed at her son, Ms. Woldanski said.

''If you even stepped on the corner of his lawn, he'd come out and yell at you,'' Ms. Woldanski said.


Families share $5.7M for loved ones murdered by cop

September 18, 2007

Trenton, NJ - When Seaside Heights Patrolman Edward L. Lutes went on a shooting in 2002, he killed five people of two families. These two families will be paid $5.7 million to settle their lawsuits against Seaside Heights and its now-retired police chief and Toms River.

Dominick Galliano's sister and a cousin of Gail Galliano, filed the wrongful death lawsuit of Gail Galliano, 49, her husband, Dominick, 51, and their son, Christopher, 25, through their lawyer, Darren Gelber, against Seaside Heights and its now-retired police chief and Toms River.

George, Theresa and Robert Williams whose parents were murdered by Edward Lutes in their Toms River home filed the wrongful death lawsuit of Gary Williams, 48, and his wife, Tina, 46, through their lawyer, James J. Carroll III, against Seaside Heights and its now-retired police chief and Toms River.

On April 9, 2002, Patrolman Edward Lutes used his department-issued MP5 machine gun to shoot and kill Gail Galliano, her husband, Dominick and their son, Christopher along with two members of the Williams family, Gary Williams and his wife, Tina.

Edward Lutes' rampage ended after he drove to the Barnegat home of then-Seaside Heights Police Chief James M. Costello and shot and wounded the chief. He then fatally shot himself in the driveway of a nearby home.

The lawsuits, filed in 2003, by members of the Galliano family and the three Williams children, detailed months of erratic and abusive behavior on the part of Lutes, who at the time of the killings was 42 and a highly decorated member of the Seaside Heights force.

The suits claimed that in the months before Edward Lutes killed his neighbors, he had been exhibiting irrational, erratic and threatening behavior. But police authorities in Seaside Heights and Toms River did nothing to stop him or get him the help that he needed.

According to the settlement, George, Theresa and Robert Williams will receive $2.3 million from the Municipal Liability Joint Insurance Fund.

Relatives of the Gallianos will receive $3.4 million pending approval in U.S. District Court, Trenton, which is expected to be approved within 60 days.


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