Colin Frank Petroziello was arrested and charged Wednesday for the attempted murder of Yardley Police Chief Joseph Kelly. The incident occurred at the Yardley Commons apartment complex on South Main Street in Pennsylvania. The 24-year-old suspect opened fire on the chief through his front door, severely injuring Kelly’s hand and ear, authorities reported.
Police identified the suspect as Yardley resident Colin Frank Petroziello. Officers took him into custody and, as of midday Thursday, Petroziello is being held without bail at Becks County Correctional Facility. The suspect was charged with attempted homicide of an officer, two counts of attempted murder, and six counts of aggravated assault, according to police.
Petroziello was also charged with false imprisonment, recklessly endangering another person, and possession of an instrument to a crime. He had already been on probation, authorities reported. Wednesday’s shooting occurred while a probation officer was checking on Colin Frank Petroziello.
Police Chief Joseph Kelly had responded to the scene to help the probation officer conduct her check. The Bucks County probation officer, Cristina Viviano, had arrived outside the apartment at around 11:00 a.m. Wednesday to conduct an offender check. As she approached the apartment she heard arguing coming from inside and called for assistance.
The Yardley Police Chief responded to a report of a domestic disturbance, arriving shortly after to assist Viviano. After knocking on the apartment door they identified themselves but without warning, Petroziello opened fire through the front door. Colin Frank Petroziello reportedly shot a shotgun and its bullets flew through the door, striking Joseph Kelly in the hand and the ear. Viviano was not injured during the shooting, authorities said.
Joseph Kelly is expected to recover from his injuries. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was treated for his wounds. After opening fire, the gunman barricaded himself inside the apartment. Police said the man’s mother was trapped inside.
An hour later, Petroziello’s mother called the police and told them that her son fell asleep during the standoff. The heroic mother snatched the shotgun and tossed it out of the window before fleeing the scene. The South Central Bucks County Emergency Response Team forcibly entered the home and arrested the shooter. According to reports, the standoff lasted a total of four hours and didn’t officially end until around 3:30 p.m.
After taking him into custody, the police confiscated a loaded .45 caliber handgun that was on his person and an additional loaded magazine stuffed in his pocket. Petroziello had been committed to a mental hospital twice before, a background check revealed. The commitments make him ineligible to carry a gun in the state, Pennsylvania law indicates.
The Yardley Borough Police Department advised a shelter in place at the Yardley Commons on Wednesday afternoon. The department asked “all motorists and pedestrians to avoid [the] area” and pleaded with “all residents of the complex… to remain inside their unit.” The shelter in place has since been lifted.
The Yardley Police Chief is in “good condition” at St. Mary Medical Center. Joseph Kelly is “absolutely extremely lucky to be alive,” Ken Coluzzi, the Lower Makefield police chief said. “Never thought he would encounter a shotgun being pulled or fired at him at this situation. This individual who shot the chief is known to us from recent incidents.”
Coluzzi said that Colin Frank Petroziello was not shot during the standoff and that there was not a “continuous exchange of gunfire.” He claimed that “it was a probation check on an individual, which turned into a domestic. The probation officer called for assistance, the chief was nearby and he rolled in to assist. It turned heated, verbal, scuffle, looked like it was going violent so she called for help.”
Chief Kelly is “the luckiest person today,” District Attorney Matt Weintraub said in a news release Wednesday. “I remember getting the call this morning, and the chills immediately ran up my spine.”
Weintraub said that after Kelly, the next luckiest people “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.”
He continued, saying that “they do it without a thought of what could happen to them at any given moment. 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.”