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12-28-07, 08:01 AM #1
Slaying of officer shocks township
Slaying of officer shocks township
Piscataway man's son is the accused
Friday, December 28, 2007 BY SULEMAN DIN AND SHARON ADARLO
A popular Piscataway police officer and community leader was shot and killed early yesterday by his 19-year-old son, who then shot himself to make it look like a home- invasion robbery, Middlesex County authorities said. Jerry Mahoney, 49, who was also vice president of the Piscataway Board of Education, was discovered shortly before 8 a.m., sitting in a living room chair inside his Gib son Street home. The 26-year veteran of the police force had been shot in the face "multiple times" with his own .380-caliber semi-automatic "off-duty" weapon, which was recovered at the scene, Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said. There were no signs of a struggle, Kaplan said. John Mahoney, a freshman at Middlesex County College and a June graduate of Piscataway High School, was charged last night with his father's murder. He is being held on $800,000 bail and is to be arraigned Wednesday, prosecutors said. It was John Mahoney who called 911 at 7:34 a.m. to report the shootings, hoping to convince authorities that he and his father had been victims of a robbery, Kaplan said. The father and son shared the modest ranch house on Gibson Street. John Mahoney, whose injury Kaplan described as a "self-inflicted ... gunshot wound to his left arm," was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. He was released around noon, accompanied by investigators from the prosecutor's office and his mother, Lynne Mahoney, who declined to comment. Lynne and Jerry Mahoney were divorced. The killing rocked the community where Jerry Mahoney had been a member of the school board for 12 years and had helped establish the police department's DARE program 15 years ago. Dozens of friends and neighbors, many of whom Mahoney had met during his years on the force, gathered outside his home as they learned of his death. "Jerry was loved by everyone, he helped everyone, he cared about everyone," said a sobbing Angie Hills, who described him as her best friend. Hills said she was unaware of any problems between father and son. In fact, she said, Mahoney bought his son a Mercedes-Benz after his high school graduation. "That boy was his life, his heart and his soul," Hills said. Outside the Mahoney home, a crowd of onlookers, including fellow Piscataway school board members Hector Perez and Raj Kumar, stood in silence. As Mahoney's body was removed, the men raised their hands in prayer. Kumar said Mahoney and his son had recently returned from North Carolina, where they had attended the funeral for Jerry Mahoney's grandfather. "He said he had met all his family there ..." Kumar said. "When I heard he was dead, my mind went blank. I still can't believe it." Earlier, a woman identified as Jerry Mahoney's girlfriend pulled up to the house. Screaming, she at tempted to run inside, but was held back by officers. At one point, a Piscataway officer emerged from the crime scene crying and clutch ing other officers for support. Police Capt. Richard Ivone, a department spokesman, said Ma honey's generosity to fellow officers and to the community was well known. "That was his thing -- 'I'll hook you up,' he would say," said Ivone, who sometimes rode with Mahoney on patrols. "He was a good guy. He was the kind that if you needed a ride to the airport, he'd be there." Ivone said the department's top priority is investigating their fellow officer's death. The time for mourn ing, he said, would come later. Mahoney was a lifelong Piscata way resident. His parents, Annie and Nelson, and his sister, Valerie, still live in town. Mahoney, who stood 6-foot-4, attended Kansas State University on a football scholarship. He re turned to Piscataway after college and joined the police department in 1981. He quickly became a community fixture. "He was well-loved in the community," said Ann Gordon, a spokeswoman for the township. "He was big, a very big guy, but having said that, he was also the most gentle person you'd meet." Nick DeMauro, chairman of the state DARE program, said Maho ney was one of the first officers to be trained for the program about 15 years ago. "I'm just numb," said DeMauro, who considered Mahoney a friend. "I'm devastated. Words cannot describe how upset I am. This state, this country, lost a great man." A generation of Piscataway stu dents knew Mahoney from his work as a DARE officer, said Fa bian Heredia, 27, who said he had met Mahoney when he was a fifth- grader. "He taught us to be strong and to not fall for peer pressure and to open up to people when we have problems," Heredia said. Mahoney earned praise for his work throughout his career, which included stints in the department's narcotics and juvenile bureaus. He also served on the department's SWAT team and was a hostage negotiator. In 2003, he was one of two officers who convinced an armed 83-year-old man to surrender dur ing a standoff with the SWAT team. The man reportedly threatened two Middlesex County sheriff's officers with a gun when they came to his house looking to arrest his son on an outstanding warrant. Ivone said Mahoney received many letters of commendation for his work. He was a smart, street wise cop who knew how to handle himself in tough situations, Ivone said. "You could always count on him," said Ivone, who recalled working with Mahoney to stop bar fights and arrest angry suspects in domestic abuse cases. "I was glad he had my back." In his time as a police officer investigating juvenile crimes, Maho ney had many run-ins with teenagers in town, but they respected him, Ivone said. "Even though they got in trouble, they liked him," Ivone said. Jim Richards, president of Pis cataway's PBA union, called Maho ney a "mountain of a guy" weighing more than 300 pounds with a booming voice. "You always knew when he was in the building. He had a big belly laugh," said Richards, who knew him since high school. "There was probably more people in town that knew him than people who didn't know him. He was one of those guys that you could call him no matter what time, he came over."
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12-28-07, 08:08 AM #2
Rest in peace.
12-28-07, 08:29 AM #3
RIP......You dedicated your life to your community only to be taken down by one you loved...........
Officer Jerry Mahoney
The son, John Mahoney
Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.
[George Washington (1732 - 1799)]
12-28-07, 09:12 AM #4
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12-28-07, 10:40 AM #5Corporal
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Rest in Peace...
I do not know what could compel a child to do such a thing to a parent...
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