Bullets hit house, car in Morristown over weekend

Bullet hole in window of Western Avenue apartment. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Bullet hole in window of Western Avenue apartment. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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A couple on Morristown’s Western Avenue had an uninvited visitor on Saturday night: A bullet through their front window.

“I was up in my room watching TV. It sounded like firecrackers. I heard four,” said a tenant named Tyrone, whose apartment window and car door were struck by separate shots, around 11 pm.

No injuries were reported.

The two-family house at 70 Western Ave. sits atop a steep slope. The gunshots appear to have come from the street below, based on the trajectory of a bullet authorities removed from above an inner door jamb.

Bullets struck the tree in the foreground, a car that had been parked to the right of the orange cones, and the window on the lower right of this house on Western Avenue, according to tenants. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Bullets struck the tree in the foreground, a car that had been parked to the right of the orange cones, and the window on the lower right of this house on Western Avenue, late on April 6, 2019, according to tenants. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Tyrone’s girlfriend, who said she was there at the time of the shooting, pointed to what appeared to be two more bullet holes in a tree almost in line with the apartment window and where Tyrone’s red Chrysler 300 had been parked.

A spokesman for the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed an investigation is under way, but had no further details. Morristown Public Safety Director Michael Corcoran Jr. said the public is in no danger, but declined to comment further because of the investigation.

Tenant points to bullet hole above his front door. The projectile came through a front hallway window late on April 6, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Tenant points to bullet hole above his front door. The projectile came through a front hallway window late on April 6, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Residents near the intersection of Western Avenue and Miller Street said police and a fire truck were there into early Sunday morning. Police continued to canvass the area on Monday, neighbors said.

Tyrone, who described himself as a 50-year-old heavy machine operator just starting a vacation, said he had no idea why anyone would shoot at his place.

“I think they were looking for someone else,” said Tyrone, who declined to give his last name.  Authorities took his car as part of their investigation, he said.

Although he suspects this was a drive-by shooting, Tyrone said he did not hear any squealing tires or see any car fleeing the area. Nor did any neighbors interviewed by MorristownGreen.com.

Hole above inside of front door is where authorities dislodged a bullet fired late on April 6, 2019, a tenant said. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Hole above inside of front door is where authorities dislodged a bullet fired late on April 6, 2019, a tenant said. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Property records list the home’s owner as Joseph Squillace. He could not be reached for comment on Monday.

A resident said he was watching TV across the street with neighbors a couple of doors from the scene on Saturday night when he heard “four detonations.”

“It was pop pop pop pop! Then it stopped,” said the resident, who asked his name be withheld because he is concerned for his family’s safety.

Police are no strangers to the residence that was targeted, the resident said, adding he is considering moving because he feels the neighborhood has slipped since he arrived a quarter-century ago. Cars speed down Western Avenue, sometimes blowing by stopped school buses, he said.

Gunfire in Greater Morristown is rare, but not unheard of.

A Morristown man was charged with firing a stolen handgun on Jersey Avenue in Morris Township in November 2017.

Seven 9mm shell casings were found on Mills Street after residents reported gunshots after midnight on a weekday in March 2012. In May of that year, a Morris Township home on Hanover Avenue was struck by gunfire.

Bullets from a semi-automatic handgun narrowly missed hitting a family inside a home on Morristown’s Speedwell Place in December 2009.  No arrests were reported in those cases.

Bullet entered third pane up on far right of this two-family home on Western Avenue, late on April 6, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Bullet entered third pane up on far right of this two-family home on Western Avenue, late on April 6, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Tyrone’s girlfriend, who also declined to give her name, said she returned from a nearby liquor store early on Saturday evening with a strange feeling “something bad was going to happen.”

She came to Morristown, she said, to leave behind such fears from tough neighborhoods in Jersey City and Newark.

Connie Pizzimenti and her husband retired to Western Avenue eight months ago from suburban Rockland County, NY, to avail themselves of Morristown’s vibrant downtown.

Orange paint marks spots where residents say two shots hit tree, in front of Western Avenue home, late on April 6, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Orange paint marks spots where residents say two shots hit tree, in front of Western Avenue home, late on April 6, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“I love being able to walk to the Green, and the convenience of the stores and shops, and walking to the Mayo Performing Arts Center,” Pizzimenti said. On Saturday night she heard what she thought was someone banging on a car.

“No, that’s gunshots,” advised her husband, a Marine Corps veteran. Then he tweaked her about their move: “Nice house you picked out!”

But Connie said she grew up in Brooklyn, where dodging Mafia mayhem was a daily routine.

“So this is nothing,” she said.

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