A cop's cop fires on his own in Doylestown drama

Posted: June 19, 2012

WHEN PATRICK CISER pictures "police officer" in his head, when he wonders whom he'd want by his side if things ever got hairy out in the field, there's only one man.

Richard "Klem" Klementovich.

That's why Ciser, a retired lieutenant with the Clifton, N.J., Police Department, was heartsick that Klementovich, whom he supervised for years in the Passaic County town, had holed himself up Sunday on his quiet Doylestown street of half-million-dollar homes, firing shots at fellow officers. He finally surrended to police at midnight without incident, after a 10-hour standoff.

"I do know he was having personal problems," Ciser said. "I just hope the brothers in PA are OK. I'm really totally taken aback by this."

Police were called to 25 Bittersweet Drive in Doylestown at 1:44 p.m. for a report of a neighbor dispute. Klementovich, a Gulf War veteran, began firing shots at officers when they arrived. One officer was injured by shrapnel.

Klementovich surrendered after talking with negotiators from inside the home he once shared with his estranged wife, Jill Major, and their two children. The couple had married in 1997 and WPVI-TV was reporting that police had been called to the home in the past for domestic disputes.

Neighbors had been told to head to their basements as a SWAT team descended upon the quiet suburb.

"I know him, but I don't know him very well," one neighbor, who answered the phone from her basement, said of Klementovich Sunday afternoon. "I would have never known he was a police officer."

Klementovich, 42, joined the Clifton police in 1998 after working for the Somerset County Sheriff's Department. He served with the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division in the Gulf War, and the Washington Post once observed him writing "Saddam is Going to Die" on one of his mortars.

Ciser said "Klem," as he was known in the Clifton police department, was a decorated officer and a "physical specimen" who regularly lifted weights and ran.

"He was a guy I could always count on," Ciser said. "He was one tough customer. He was not your school crossing guard."

An official with Clifton Township said officers from the department were in Doylestown to assist.

Early reports from the Breaking News Network said that Klementovich had approximately 2,000 rounds of ammunition available. He had also shot out tires and a camera on a SWAT vehicle.

Neighbor Fran Golden, speaking from his home near Bittersweet Drive, said gunshots can often be heard from a nearby gun range. Sunday was different.

"It was so loud, so close," he said. "Then I saw cops running down my street with their guns drawn. I thought a cop had been shot." n

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