DA: NJ Cop Helped Talk Down Standoff Suspect
The Bucks County District Attorney credited a sergeant in the Clifton, N.J., force for getting through to the suspect in Sunday's armed standoff in Doylestown Township.
Richard Klementovich already had allegedly texted his parents that he was prepared to die.
He allegedly had left a note for Doylestown Township police to find, telling them he was ready to die.
He allegedly had told his estranged wife that he was ready to die, and wanted to kill other police officers as he goaded them to kill him in a "suicide by cop" final stand.
But when the standoff in the Doylestown Lea neighborhood ended Sunday just before midnight, Klementovich, an off-duty New Jersey cop, was still alive. Every other police officer who had responded to the scene - possibly as many as 250 officers from around the region - was alive, as well.
On Tuesday, Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler credited that outcome in no small part to the intervention of Klementovich's supervisor on the Clifton, NJ, police force.
"His sergeant from the Clifton force was able to get through to him on, I believe, a cell phone, when he was refusing to talk to negotiators," Bucks DA David Heckler told Doylestown Patch on Tuesday.
"His sergeant was able to calm him down enough that the police were able to eventually bring him out," Heckler said.
Klementovich has been a police officer with the Clifton Police Department since 1998, the department said Monday. He had been off work for several weeks with an injury, they said.
On Sunday, he had arranged to meet his estranged wife and their two children for Father's Day. Instead, he headed to their empty home at 25 Bittersweet Drive and began building his fortress.
Heckler said investigators found "an elaborate system of barricades" set up throughout the home when they began processing the scene on Tuesday, gathering evidence for the prosecution.
The barricades were designed to make it difficult for responding officers to reach the suspect, Heckler said, declining to be more specific as the investigation is ongoing.
Evidence is mounting that Klementovich had planned the assault for some time.
Despite being on leave for an injury, Klementovich, 42, showed up unexpectedly at Clifton police headquarters last week, the Newark Star Ledger reported. He allegedly began giving away items from his locker and was "exhibiting some strange behavior," a law enforcement source told the New Jersey newspaper.
And he may have recently purchased one of the rifles allegedly used in Sunday's shooting.
When police were negotiating his surrender at the end of the night, Heckler said they instructed the suspect to toss his rifle out the window to them.
"He said, 'I just paid $2,500 for this rifle, I'm not going to throw it out the window,' " Heckler said.
Klementovich is being held in the Bucks County Prison on $1 million bail and has been ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation. Heckler said a preliminary hearing is expected to be scheduled for sometime in August.