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UPDATED: Family of Slain Waretown Man Files $5M Claim Against Ocean Twp. Police

Prosecutor's office says officer in fatal shooting is son of Lacey Mayor Quinn

The father of a man March 3 has filed a $5 million tort claim against the Ocean Township Police Department, a move which clears the way for a lawsuit, according to the office of the family’s lawyer.

Deputy Chief Michael Mohel of the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office confirmed that the officer who shot Wolford was Ptl. Matthew Quinn, who is the son of Lacey Township Mayor Gary Quinn.

Henry Roger Wolford, father of Todd Wolford, filed the claim Wednesday through his lawyer, Daniel Carluccio. The claim says the Ocean Township Police Department, department dispatchers and the Ocean County Sherriff’s Department dispatchers were “grossly negligent in causing the death” of Wolford and violated his civil rights.

According to the claim, police were responding to a call from Wolford’s friend, Eddie Kamesiak, on the night of Wolford’s death. Kamesiak, whom the claim says was drunk, had told police Wolford was “upset and in danger.”

Two officers then went to Wolford’s house, where Wolford was asleep on the couch with a movie playing, the claim says, and walked around his house without announcing themselves, amounting to "wrongful trespass.”

When Wolford’s German shepherd started barking, says the claim, Wolford woke up, picked up his legally licensed gun and opened his front door. At that time, one of the officers shot him in the chest, killing him, a claim that matches official reports from the night of the incident.

The claim goes on to say that officers then took Wolford’s body into his house and searched the house before obtaining a warrant. The claim cites reports from neighbors and local media as well as information from the Ocean County Prosecutor.

A representative from the Ocean Township Police Department was not available to comment on the claim Thursday.

Quinn remains on administrative duty while the shooting is investigated by the Prosecutor's Office and the state Attorney General's Office, Mohel said, and the decision of whether to rearm him will come only when those investigations are complete.

john jameson May 12, 2011 at 08:49 PM
There has been so many conflicting reports about this tragedy, you don't know what to believe. I feel badly for the young victims and their families (the deceased and the cop).
Frank May 12, 2011 at 09:15 PM
Who is the cop - never saw the name printed. What a shame.
Graelyn Brashear May 12, 2011 at 10:28 PM
Prosecutor's office just released that information – it's in the story now.
john jameson May 12, 2011 at 10:57 PM
Something is seriously wrong with the way this was handled.
Frank May 13, 2011 at 01:55 AM
Can't fathom this. Home, asleep on the couch, movie playing. Dog barks alerting his master. Now the man is dead. I hope there's no behind the scenes political hanky panky going on here. This man & his family deserve an honest investigation. Why didn't they interview his drunk friend first to get details - they would have seen that he was drunk and maybe handled things differently. Feel really bad for this family.
Silver dollar May 13, 2011 at 03:31 AM
This is why we have a court system .
BeyondReality May 14, 2011 at 12:51 AM
Are you guys serious? This guy was one of 2 things. Suicidal or stupid. Since when do we grab a gun every time the dog barks? And since when do we leave our house with a gun to go investigate? Thats what the police are for. Remember, the police were there to investigate a suicidal person. And even if he wasnt suicidal he pointed a gun at a cop. Not to smart. Darla is complaining that police were on her lawn because she had a warrant. And you think you are going to file trespassing charges? Are you serious? You had a warrant. A cop cant enter your house without a warrant but they can absolutely be on your property. And for all the people who say that these cops were "Sneaking around". Police are trained in any serious incidents (IE Mentally disturbed persons) to park far away from the house and walk up on the house slowly and investigate as much as possible prior to making contact. Countless lives have been saved by doing things that way and every cop through out the country is trained to do it like that. This sue happy country is really ridiculous. You come out of your house and point a gun at a cop and think they did something wrong when they shoot you? Think again buddy. I know most people end up settling because its just easier but I really hope that this guy doesnt get a dime. Just on principle I hope they dont let him get away with that.
getreal May 14, 2011 at 02:24 AM
Beyondreality I dont think you could have said it any better. Its sad how these people complain about the police but who's the first person they call when they are in danger or need help?-the police! Or their elderly are sick and need assistance. who are the first to respond to the scene to help?- the police! Its sad how these officers get scrutinized about everything they do when they are simply doing their job. And I totally agree with you i hope that family gets nothing.
tom e gunn May 14, 2011 at 12:07 PM
Used to be the day, when the police cautiously knocked on the door and announced themselves. had they done this, Todd would be alive today. However, they didn't and they will pay for it. How would you feel if it was your kid! On the other hand, if you want to get back at someone, just call and say your friend is suicidal and is armed.
BeyondReality May 14, 2011 at 08:38 PM
TomEGunn, Used to be the day, when the police knocked on a door and announced themselves only to receive 2 bullets in the chest through the door. Those days are over. Every cop in the country approaches a house that way for a reason. And this guy did not get shot because someone said he was suicidal. He got shot because he pointed a gun at an uniformed officer. Not for any other reason...
Ray May 15, 2011 at 03:43 PM
The Officer will be cleared and it will be ruled a justifiable homicide. Regarding the civil suit, the insurance company will pay because they don't want to go to court and the police will not admit any responsibility. That's the way it works, I have had experience with this type of case.
Jim May 15, 2011 at 05:07 PM
Ray youre probably right. The officer will most like be cleared criminally and the PD will settle civilally. Ultimately though, the TAXPAYERS will be left to foot the bill. For those that asked WHY he went to the door with a gun, I believe this was an insecure man...thus the German sheppard and the legal gun. He was DRUNK and used as poor judgement as the police did for not announcing themselves. Had they knocked and identified themselves this could have been avoided.
john jameson May 16, 2011 at 10:08 AM
darla Here is an excerpt from the related article, that is not from the point of view of the attorney for the family of the decedent: ...[UPDATE: Waretown Man Shot and Killed by Police Pointed Gun at Officers, Says Prosecutor Officers responded to home on a welfare check, authorities say By Graelyn Brashear | Email the author | March 4, 2011 4 Comments View full size Photos (4) Police stand in front of the Ocean Township home where a resident was shot and killed by a township police officer Thursday night. The house at 32 Maple St. in Ocean Township, where a resident was shot and killed by a township police officer Thursday night. An officer examines the front yard at 32 Maple St. in Ocean Township, where a resident was shot and killed by a township police officer Thursday night. A county crime scene investigation van parked on Maple Street in Ocean Township, where a resident was shot and killed by a township police officer Thursday night. Add your photos & videos Share Tweet Email Print Submit a tip A Waretown man was fatally shot by an Ocean Township police officer Thursday night after pointing a gun at three officers who were called to his house by a friend, officials said.] I'm starting to wonder what is lerking upstairs with you?... The investigation is incomplete. Many questions need to be answered The fact remains that a tragedy has occurred that has and will affect many.
john jameson May 16, 2011 at 04:48 PM
This article has been updated. The Office of the Prosecutor gave additional information the same day the tort claim was reported.
CE98 May 16, 2011 at 05:53 PM
Suicide by cop is a growing trend, which is exactly what this guy did. If you’re a coward and can’t do it yourself, you tell a friend you’re going to kill yourself, and wait for the police. He walked outside to confront UNIFORMED OFFICERS, he pointed his weapon at one of the officers and pulled the trigger. That forced a 27 year old to take him out, now he is traumatized forever. This guy was a coward and a piece of trash and so is his family and their attorney. They deserve nothing, and they should apologize to the police for Todd’s actions, not sue them over it.
Ray May 16, 2011 at 07:43 PM
C 98 you don't know what your talking about. You don't have the facts, you are just shooting off your mouth on hearsay. Wait until the OC Prosecutor and the grand jury come to a conclusion. The Officer will be cleared, but the insurance company will pay a settlement to the family because they do not want to try a civil case before a jury of his peers. I have had experience with a case like this.
CE98 May 16, 2011 at 07:58 PM
Ray, I do know the facts, and I know it’s a good shoot. There is no grand jury, no indictment, and no crime being investigated. The only crime here was an aggravated assault on a police officer, and it was solved. The insurance should not pay a dime. It would cause the town’s ins rate to go up, which means higher taxes. I hope the Twp and county fight this shyster to the end.
CE98 May 16, 2011 at 08:05 PM
And it’s not a HOMICIDE Ray, it was officers carrying out their sworn duties. Look who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Oh I forgot, you have experience.
john jameson May 16, 2011 at 08:56 PM
I am having difficulty comprehending what "a good shoot" is. I don't see anything good about it. Not for the community, the decedent, the officer, or, their family and friends.
peedoffinfr May 16, 2011 at 10:51 PM
hope this family gets more than that. not another case of a few bad apples spoil the barrel. in fact, the whole barrel is spoiled. i have seen seen these cops sit and sit just waiting to pull someone over. they have trapped people. they follow them up rt 9 right before there jurisdiction ends when the speed limit goes 5 miles less within 100 feet just to pull people over. they are sneaky and relentless. they look for trouble. as for the shooting, another cop just playing cops like a 8 year old waiting to use his gun.such a shame a life was lost and this cop goes on with his life.as for the whole police dept, they should clean house. bad boys bad boys whatcha gonna do , whatcha gonna do when they come for you? they should open a dd in waretown..thatll keep them off the roads.
Ray May 17, 2011 at 12:38 PM
Again you don't know what your talking about. On the uniform crime reports it will be marked as a homicide. The prosecutor will determine if it was justifiable. The family will receive a settlement from the insurance company. Do you want to bet on that?
Jennifer Peterson May 23, 2011 at 05:08 PM
I have a German Shepard, I'm not insecure. I don't answer my door with a gun, but I do look out the window to see what I can see prior to opening the door, especially at night. If you point a gun at me, and I happen to have a gun, you better believe i'm going to shoot first. I'm not a cop, but i'm not going to get shot because I err'd on the side of caution. Generally speaking I don't like police and their attitudes and the way they handle things, They once threatened to shoot my dog because he was on my front steps barking at them, so yea police are not my favorite people, however I don't see how anyone can deny that if someone pointed a gun at them, they wouldn't shoot.
JOHNNY Done it October 22, 2011 at 01:08 AM
TO TOM E GUNN. IF you were taught correctly there is right & wrong & legal& illegal todd did everthing wrong .I am sure next drug raid in town they will knock like door to door salesman & and ask is there any illegal drugs or weapons here .Thank you.>> It is action , reaction He should never walked outside with a weapon...This is not iraq...

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