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Retired Police Officer Kills Granddaughter, Three Others, in N.J. Neighborhood, Authorities Say

February 21, 2002
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Retired Police Officer Kills Granddaughter, Three Others, in N.J. Neighborhood, Authorities Say

by Elizabeth A. Kennedy, Associated Press

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) - A retired police officer shot and killed his 22-year-old granddaughter on Thursday then went door to door and killed three neighbors, police said.

John W. Mabie, 70, who retired from the Newark police in 1976, was charged with four counts of murder. Bail was set at $3 million.

He was arrested as he sat on the lawn in front of his home, about an hour's drive southeast of Trenton, authorities said. A .38-caliber revolver was found on his front steps, Ocean County Prosecutor Thomas F. Kelaher said.

Authorities did not give a motive for the shootings, nor did they indicate what connection Mabie may have had with the three neighbors.

"Neighbors have indicated there have been some behavior problems in the past," Kelaher said. Mabie "spent a lot of time in the house and rarely went out."

By evening, police had blocked off access to part of the street where Mabie's home was located. No phone listing could be found for Mabie.

Kelaher said Mabie was at his mother-in-law's home down the street from his house when he shot his granddaughter, Natalie Gingerelli. He then left the house, walked to a nearby house and fatally shot Sue Keiran, 42.

Mabie went to another home and shot 27-year-old Thomas Luyster, who died later at a hospital, Kelaher said. The body of Luyster's fiancee, Suzanne Lavecchia, was found on the lawn in front of the house.

Caroline Furey, 40, who lives in the neighborhood, said she heard arguing before the gunfire.

Newark police said Mabie joined the force in 1958 and was a patrolman when he retired.

The shooting happened about 1:30 p.m., near Toms River High School East, where students were kept inside following the shooting. Police officers accompanied students home on school buses.

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