An off-duty police officer fatally shot his ex-wife in the head with their seven-year-old daughter watching in Asbury Park, NJ yesterday. A witness said that before the shooting, Philip Seidle "was in the middle of the street. He was saying, 'I'm tired of going to court.'"
Seidle, a 22-year veteran of the Neptune police, had apparently been chasing ex-wife Tamara Seidle's car. According to WCBS 2, "Asbury Park police were called around 11:26 a.m. to a report of an unrelated car crash, when they saw Seidle’s ex-wife, Tamara Seidle, driving a black 2012 Volkswagen Jetta turn a corner onto Sewall Avenue near Ridge Avenue in Asbury Park before crashing into a parked 2002 Ford Focus, prosecutors said. Following behind the Jetta was Philip Seidle, driving a 2005 Honda Pilot, prosecutors said. He got out of his car and fired multiple shots into the Jetta, striking and killing his ex-wife, prosecutors alleged."
The couple's seven-year-old daughter was in Philip Seidle's passenger seat. Police started talking to Seidle and asked him to put down the gun. From the Asbury Park Press:
Once Seidle stopped shooting, he put the gun to his head and walked around the vehicle. Police, who were nearby investigating an unrelated motor vehicle accident, started talking to Seidle. They got him to agree that they could take his daughter out of the car.
As the girl was taken away, Seidle then walked to the front of his wife's car and fired into the windshield. Seidle then put the gun again to his head, and there was a 30-minute standoff while police attempted to get him to surrender.
Terrell, who was later barricaded inside his workplace at Campbell's Door Co. on Sewall Avenue while police negotiated with Philip Seidle, recalled seeing one officer there, but it wasn't until reinforcements arrived that they started to block off the area and negotiate with him.
From inside Campbell's, Terrell said he heard police say, "Phil, put the gun down."
That's when Seidle raised the gun to his head, threatening to kill himself, said another onlooker, Trina Poysner, who said Philip Seidle was standing in the middle of the street. Police pushed eyewitnesses farther back, taping off the area.
"Put the gun down," Poysner, of Asbury Park, recalled police saying. "It's not worth it."
"My kids, my kids!" Philip Seidle yelled, as she recalled. "I'm not going to see them anymore."
"I thought he was going to pull the trigger," said Trina Poysner.
Seidle finally surrendered. Another witness claimed he said to cops, "You guys don't understand. I'm tired of paying alimony. I don't get to see my children."
A Neptune resident told the APP, "He was a well-respected cop in the area. Nobody knows what triggered this, and that's what makes it so sad." NJ.com reports, "[Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Marc] LeMieux said Phillip Seidle was known to the officers on scene. When asked why officers didn't use force against Seidle while he fired off a second round of shots in police presence, LeMiuex said that's "under investigation at this point in time.""
The couple divorced last month. Apparently Tamara Seidle alleged that her husband was "obsessed with pornography and video games" and was violent throughout their marriage: "He held a gun to her head when she was pregnant and cocked the firearm, according to the complaint. At another time, he kicked her in the stomach, again when she was pregnant, she alleged. After an argument on her birthday about billings for pornography on their cable bill, he punched her in the face, giving her a black eye, she alleged."
The Seidles have nine children: Five girls, ages 7, 12, 15, 17 and 24, and four boys, 11, 19, 20 and 22. Their next-door neighbor said, "For these children to be as fine in character as they are, but lose both parents in a snap of a finger in one afternoon is a tragedy."