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Nationwide Alert for Cop Accused of Killing Wife

October 30, 1985 GMT

PIERMONT, N.Y. (AP) _ Residents were warned Wednesday to keep their children out of the woods as officers continued the search for a transit policeman accused of killing his estranged policewoman wife.

But authorities doubted that the ″streetwise cop″ they sought was still in the area. They widened the search to three New York counties and parts of New Jersey and issued a nationwide alert, and the Rockland County district attorney pleaded with the man to surrender.

Authorities said the fugitive, John Bruetsch, 39, a New York City Transit Authority policeman, killed his wife, New York policewoman Milta Bruetsch, after he went to her brother’s home Tuesday in hopes of winning a reconciliation. She had moved out of their Bronx home three weeks earlier.

On Tuesday, an argument broke out and Bruetsch dragged his 22-year-old wife to his car, shot her when she tried to flee and then shot her twice more in the back as she lay on the pavement, poice said. He then fled and eluded a search of a 50-acre wooded area nearby Tuesday night.

The couple had been married 11 months and the relationship had been stormy from the start, with police often called to their apartment, District Attorney Kenneth Gribetz said.

A second-degree murder warrant was signed by Piermont Village Justice Thomas Cigarnek on Wednesday.

Piermont Police Chief Thomas Gaynor said officers would be going door-to- door in the small Hudson River community to advise residents to keep their children out of the woods.

Gribetz said officers would continue searching the area but conceded that Bruetsch probably was no longer nearby.

Rockland and Orange counties in New York, plus nearby New Jersey areas and the Bronx, were the main focus of the search, he said.

Gribetz issued a public appeal to Bruetsch, saying, ″I am begging you to surrender. Please do it now so that you or any of the police officers looking for you aren’t injured.″

He said Bruetsch was armed with .38-caliber and .25-caliber revolvers.

Transit Authority Police Lt. Thomas Neff described Bruetsch as ″a streetwise cop.″

Ed Silberfarb, a transit authority spokesman, said Bruetsch had been suspended twice, in 1978 and 1979, for violating a court order barring him from visiting his first wife. During his 17-year career, he had eight ″derelictions″ for minor offenses such as being late. He also had eight commendations.