DOYLESTOWN >> A 24-year-old man was arraigned August 18 on attempted murder and related charges for shooting Yardley Police Chief Joseph Kelly who was assisting a Bucks County probation officer on an offender check at the Yardley Commons Condominiums.
Kelly, a law enforcement veteran of more than three decades, is recovering from injuries to his hand and ear sustained when Colin Frank Petroziello fired a shotgun through the front door of his apartment Wednesday morning, August 18.
After the shooting, Petroziello barricaded himself and his mother inside his apartment at 806 Yardley Commons. He was taken into custody at 3:30 p.m., ending a more than four-hour standoff.
Petroziello was charged with attempted homicide of a law enforcement officer, two counts of attempted murder, six counts of aggravated assault, and one count each of assault of a law enforcement officer, persons not to possess a firearm, false imprisonment, recklessly endangering another person and possession of an instrument of crime.
Magisterial District Judge Joseph P. Falcone arraigned Petroziello, denied him bail and sent him to Bucks County Correctional Facility.
"I remember getting the call this morning, and the chills immediately ran up my spine," District Attorney Matt Weintraub said at a news briefing after Petroziello was taken into custody. "The luckiest person today is Chief Joseph Kelly, next are his family and then it's a tie: It's all of us that the police selflessly serve and protect without regard for their own public safety, every damn day."
"And they do it without a thought of what could happen to them at any given moment,” he said. “This is but one horrible and awesome example all rolled into one because Police Chief Joseph Kelly knew of the risks, but he took them anyway when he assisted a fellow officer on a check the well-being call this morning."
District Attorney Weintraub added that Chief Kelly "was in good spirits" when he visited with him at St. Mary Medical Center on Wednesday, and he's expected to make a full recovery. He was released from the hospital on Friday, August 20.
The situation unfolded at 11 a.m. after Bucks County Adult Probation/Parole Officer Cristina Viviano arrived to conduct an offender check on Petroziello. She heard doors slamming and arguing coming from inside his apartment, and immediately called for assistance from Yardley Borough Police to report a domestic disturbance. Chief Kelly arrived a short time later.
The two approached Petroziello's door, knocked and identified themselves as police. Petroziello then fired a shotgun through the front door with the projectiles penetrating the door and striking Chief Kelly in the hand and ear. Kelly radioed that shots were fired and he had been shot.
Armed with the shotgun, Petroziello barricaded himself in the unit and prevented his mother from leaving and police from entering. Law enforcement agencies from throughout Bucks County converged on the scene and established a perimeter. Yardley Police asked residents in the neighborhood to shelter in place as the situation unfolded.
More than an hour after the shooting, Petroziello's mother, who still had her cellphone, told police that Petroziello had fallen asleep. She was able to get the Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun and toss it out the window. She then escaped through the window herself.
At 3:30 p.m., the South Central Bucks County Emergency Response Team made a forced entry into Petroziello's unit and took him into custody. As SERT members took him into custody, they recovered a loaded .45-caliber handgun tucked in his waistband. A second loaded magazine was found in his pants pocket.
Bucks County Detectives served a search warrant and located brass knuckles inside his Petroziello's bedroom.
A background check revealed Petroziello was twice committed on involuntary mental health commitments, making him ineligible to possess a firearm under Pennsylvania law.
Bucks County Detectives led the investigation with the assistance of Lower Makefield Township Police Department, Yardley Borough Police Department, Newtown Township Police Department, the South Central Bucks County Emergency Response Team and Pennsylvania State Police.
Because of the excellent work by police, no civilians, including the defendant, were injured.
First Assistant District Attorney Jennifer M. Schorn is assigned to prosecute the case.