Richard Klementovich, an off-duty officer who served for 14 years with the Clifton Police Department in New Jersey and was a U.S. Army combat veteran, surrendered late last night after allegedly barricading himself inside the home of his estranged wife, police said.
Early this morning Klementovich was arraigned and charged with 83 counts of attempted homicide, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and weapons offenses, according to documents from the Doylestown Township Police Department.
After a judge ordered him to undergo a mental health evaluation, he was jailed after he was unable to post 10 percent of $1 million bail.
The 10-hour standoff began when officers from the Doylestown Township Police Department were called to the residence at 25 Bittersweet Drive around 1:45 p.m. yesterday for reports of a neighbor dispute, Chief David Mettin of the Pennsridge Regional Police Department told reporters.
The Bucks County Courier-Times reports that Klementovich, who was alone in the home, left an envelope in the driveway stating that he had a scoped rifle, 2,000 rounds of ammunition and “was ready to die.”
He then allegedly opened fire on police during at least three separate gunfire exchanges. A Doylestown Township officer was struck by debris when a bullet hit a concrete curb, but his injuries are not life-threatening. Klementovich also shot two police cars and an armored personnel carrier, Mettin said.
A police department coworker told The Courier-Times that Klementovich went through a “bitter” divorce from his wife just last year. The paper obtained emails he allegedly wrote to his estranged spouse stating he was angry at law enforcement due to his occupation. “They will do the job I couldn’t and take my life,” the messages reportedly read. “I hope whomever comes to our house is ready to die tomorrow because I will be …”
Area residents were advised to stay in their basements as the 10-hour standoff dragged on. Some were evacuated.
Klementovich surrendered around 11:45 p.m. after hours of sporadic communication with negotiators from the Central Bucks Special Response Team, Mettin said. He was wearing a bulletproof vest and gas mask when video shot from the scene shows him climbing onto a roof of the home and jumping onto the lawn.
State police were still inside the home early this morning clearing the scene of other weapons.
A New Jersey man filed civil rights complaints lawsuits against Klementovich and other Clifton law enforcement officials in 2006, alleging excessive force and misconduct during an arrest three years earlier, according to court documents. A judge dismissed the claims two years ago because they were filed after the statute of limitations had expired.