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Posted Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

Jefferson Township police and members of the Morris County Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (SERT) and Morris County Office of Emergency Management’s Special Operation Group (SOG) entered a Jefferson home early Monday morning to rescue two young children and provide medical aid to a shooting victim, even though they had not confirmed if a shooter was inside the house.

Years of coordinated training between county law enforcement agencies paid off when a team of responders arrived at 1 Mirror Place in the White Rock section of Jefferson in response to a reported shooting. The Sheriff’s and OEM teams immediately teamed up outside the residence along with other responding law enforcement officers.

Coordinated Morris Emergency Response to Jefferson Shooting Rescued Two Children and Saved a LifeSheriff logo


A female shooting victim was deceased outside of a nearby home. The shooter’s whereabouts were unknown. But two children, both under age 10, were still inside the home, along with a second adult male shooting victim, who was conscious but bleeding.

Based on the exigency of the situation, the responders formed a team, inclusive of Jefferson Township police, and devised an emergency plan to enter the home, neutralize the shooter (if necessary), rescue the children, and render medical aid to the male victim, along with any other individuals who may have been inside the residence.

Upon entry, the team immediately cleared and secured a section of the home so that life-saving medical aid could immediately begin on the male victim. Communication was continuously maintained with dispatch and subsequently relayed to Emergency Medical Services.

Coordinated Morris Emergency Response to Jefferson Shooting Rescued Two Children and Saved a Life

The children were found physically unharmed and removed from inside the residence while SERT officers, including Jefferson police, continued to search the home for the alleged shooter. Simultaneously, the sheriff’s and OEM responders medically treated the male victim and successfully stopped life-threatening bleeding from critical wounds.

Authorities did not encounter the shooter inside the residence. Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp stated, in a previous July 15 press release, that the alleged shooter, identified as off-duty Newark Police Lieutenant John Formisano, 49, was later apprehended in Livingston.

Ultimately, the male victim was carried from inside the home to the Jefferson Township Rescue Squad ambulance that was waiting nearby with Paramedics from Saint Clare’s Hospital on board. The victim promptly was transported to the Morristown Medical Center Trauma Hospital, with OEM’s Special Operations Group members on board, assisting with the medical care of the victim.

Coordinated Morris Emergency Response to Jefferson Shooting Rescued Two Children and Saved a Life

Response vehicles at the Jefferson crime scene

SERT is a team of highly-trained integrated group of officers from the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, Morris County Park Police, and municipal police departments that respond to emergencies and incidents where lives are imperiled.

SOG is a joint partnership between Morris County Office of Emergency Management and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, Morris County Chiefs of Police Association, Saint Clare’s Health, and Atlantic Health System. SOG is a basic and advanced life support medically integrated team that is solely committed to SERT members and embedded with team members on all deployments.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon applauded SERT, SOG, the Jefferson Township Police Department, and all of the police and EMS responders for their brave, focused and coordinated plan to save the children inside the residence and provide life-saving aid to the victim.

“I pray for Christine Formisano who tragically lost her life during this incident as well as the recovery of the survivors, and healing for their families who have suffered a terrible loss,” Sheriff Gannon said. “I am very proud of the work of all the Morris County law enforcement agencies in their response, rescue, treatment of the survivors, and ultimate criminal investigation of this very tragic event.”