Yardley, PA – A shotgun-wielding probationer shot a police chief multiple times during a routine probation check on Wednesday, leading to a four-hour standoff.
The incident began at approximately 11 a.m. on Aug. 18 when a Bucks County probation officer tasked with supervising 24-year-old Colin Petroziello went to the probationer’s Yardley Commons condominium near South Main Street for a routine probation check, the Courier Times reported.
Petroziello, who previously had two involuntary mental health commitments and is prohibited from possessing firearms, is currently on probation for disorderly conduct.
At some point after arriving at the residence, the probation officer called the Yardley Police Department (YPD) for assistance at the complex, WPVI reported.
YPD Chief Joe Kelly, who often responds to calls due to the agency’s small size, showed up to offer a hand.
“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,” Lower Makefield Police Chief Ken Coluzzi told KYW. “It turned heated, verbal, scuffle looked like it was going violent so she called for help.”
But when the probation officer and 54-year-old Chief Kelly knocked on Petroziello’s front door and identified themselves, the suspect opened fire on them through the front door with a shotgun, the Courier Times reported.
The shotgun pellets struck the police chief in his ear and his hand.
The probation officer was not injured in the attack, the Courier Times reported.
It is unclear how many times the suspect fired his weapon, and police have not disclosed whether the probation officer or Chief Kelly returned fire.
Chief Kelly was rushed to St. Mary Medical Center in Middletown and was expected to undergo surgery to his hand to remove fragments from the shotgun blast, according to the paper.
He has been listed in good condition and is expected to make a full recovery, the Courier Times reported.
The YBPD confirm that Chief Kelly was shot in the line of duty. The Chief is conscious and doing well. We thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this time.
— Yardley Borough PD (@YardleyPD) August 18, 2021
Law enforcement officers swarmed the area in the wake of the attack and a SWAT team tried negotiating with the gunman for hours without success.
Petroziello’s mother was able to escape the home during the standoff, the Courier Times reported.
Officers breached the front door of the gunman’s home at approximately 4 p.m. and found Petroziello unconscious in his bedroom, police said.
In addition to the 12-gauge shotgun he allegedly used in the attack, the suspect was also in possession of a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun with two loaded magazines, the Courier Times reported.
Petroziello has been charged with a slew of offenses, to include attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, according to WPVI.
— Andrew Kramer (@Philly_Kramer) August 18, 2021
He refused to respond when he appeared before Magisterial Court Judge Joseph Falcone for his arraignment on Wednesday night.
Bucks County Prosecutor Jennifer Schorn said Petroziello is “clearly a threat to the community” and urged the court to deny bail or to set an unattainable bail, the Courier Times reported.
The suspect, who was shirtless and had his plaid boxers exposed during the hearing, did have an outburst in court when Schorn told Falcone he is unemployed and lives off of Social Security Disability with additional assistance from his parents, according to the Courier Times.
— Dann Cuellar (@DannCuellar) August 19, 2021
— Mike Nik (@6abcmike) August 19, 2021
Yardley Mayor Chis Harding said the city was thankful for the law enforcement officers who responded to the scene in the wake of the attack.
He noted that many officers on the scene had responded from surrounding agencies.
“Please know Yardley Borough is forever grateful, and will not forget your selfless willingness to help when called upon,” Harding said.
The YBPD wishes to extend its gratitude to the numerous agencies who responded to assist the YBPD on scene at Yardley Commons yesterday. Together we are greater than the sum of our parts.
— Yardley Borough PD (@YardleyPD) August 19, 2021
Chief Kelly has been at the helm of the YPD for six years, and previously served as a New Jersey Transit police officer for 23 years, the Courier Times reported.
“Words cannot express my admiration for him, and for the members of our Yardley Borough Police Department, who exude the core values he preaches and lives by…integrity, loyalty, respect and courage,” Harding told the paper. “Chief Kelly demonstrated each and every one of these qualities today.”