FREEHOLD, N.J. – A recently divorced police officer accused of chasing and fatally shooting his ex-wife with his service weapon as their youngest daughter watched is due to make his first court appearance Wednesday.
Neptune Township Sgt. Phillip Seidle is charged with murder, child endangerment and a weapons offense stemming from Tuesday's shooting in Asbury Park.
Seidle is due in court Wednesday afternoon, Monmouth County prosecutors said. His bail has been set at $2 million cash, and it wasn't known if he has retained an attorney. If convicted of murder, he could face a life sentence.
Seidle fired several shots into a car driven by his ex-wife, 51-year-old Tamara Seidle, and then put the gun to his head and started pacing as authorities got the couple's daughter out of his car, prosecutors said. Phillip Seidle then fired several more shots through the front windshield of his wife's vehicle, prosecutors said.
He held the gun to his head and kept police at bay for nearly 30 minutes before he surrendered, prosecutors said.
Tamara Seidle was taken to a hospital, where she died a short time later. No other injuries were reported in the shooting.
Seidle has served on the Neptune force for 22 years. He and his wife were the parents of nine children, who range in age from 7 to 24.
The couple's divorce was finalized late last month, and authorities said the shooting apparently was spurred by an ongoing child custody dispute.
Police officers in the neighborhood for an unrelated traffic accident saw the shooting unfold. When asked why those officers did not try to stop Seidle, prosecutors said that was under investigation.
Michael Terrell, who witnessed the shooting, told the Asbury Park Press that Seidle was yelling at his ex-wife about their child custody fights.
"The guy was in the middle of the street," Terrell told the newspaper. "He was saying, `I'm tired of going to court."'
Seidle then raised his gun, firing multiple shots at the woman, Terrell said.
"It was shocking," Terrell said.