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NYPD Officer Kills Family, Himself

September 27, 1998 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) _ A 7-year-old girl’s pleas to a 911 operator were cut off by her father, a police officer who apparently then fatally shot the girl, his son and his wife and son in the head before committing suicide.

Patrick Fitzgerald, 38, and his family were found dead Friday evening at their home in Greenville, about 75 miles northwest of the city where he worked, the New York Police Department said.

The 911 call from Ashley described her father assaulting her mother before the call ended abruptly, said state Trooper Mike Waller. Fitzgerald later phoned his precinct and said he killed his family and was about to take his own life.

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Fitzgerald used his personal gun instead of his service revolver to shoot Ashley, 4-year-old Shane, 4, and Leanne, his 38-year-old wife, Waller said. Troopers found the bodies of the children on the bed in their parents’ first-floor room, near their dead father. Their mother was found in a second-floor bathroom.

The modest log-cabin style home is about an hour’s drive from Manhattan’s 34th Precinct in Washington Heights, a tough neighborhood where the 13-year officer worked.

Neighbor John Lewandowski said he had advised the couple to separate because they were always arguing and complaining about each other.

The officer’s record did not indicate any problems on the job, said Deputy Police Commissioner Marilyn Mode.