A Philadelphia area cop with a history of stalking was arrested for shooting and killing his ex-girlfriend on Monday.
According to police, Colwyn Borough police officer Stephen Rozniakowski, 32, shot and killed his former girlfriend Valerie Morrow on Monday night at her home in Delaware County. During the attack the victim's husband Tom Morrow, himself a police officer, was also wounded. Police said Rozniakowski also shot and injured Morrow's teenage daughter. Via 6ABC:
Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whalen explains, "Tom Morrow, at this point hearing the commotion, hearing the gunfire, reached into his nightstand next to the bed, pulled out a revolver and started returning fire."
When he ran out of bullets Morrow jumped out of a second floor window, breaking his ankle.
Tom Morrow and his teenage stepdaughter were released from an area hospital after being treated for their injuries. According to 6ABC, the motivation behind the shooting is believed to be jealousy—Valerie Morrow and Rozniakowski were previously romantically involved.
The Morrows reportedly believed Rozniakowski was responsible for scratching their new car last week, leading Valerie Morrow file for a protective order against him on Monday. The order was delivered to Rozniakowki's home, where he lives with his mother, on Monday evening at 6 p.m., reports 6ABC. After receiving the restraining order Rozniakowski reportedly called and resigned as a police officer and then went to the Morrow residence to confront his ex. Via the Delaware County Times:
Authorities said Rozniakowski, who telephoned Colwyn Police Chief Bryan Hills Monday to resign from his part time police position, was served a PFA at his residence in Norwood at about 6 p.m.
It was shortly after 9 p.m. when shots rang out in the Glenfield Avenue home, killing an unidentified woman [now identified as Valerie Morrow] and wounding a teenage girl.
Just when you thought this story couldn't get any worse, it turns out local news reports exposed Rozniakowski's stalking history more than nine months before the shooting at the Morrow home, yet local police continued to keep him on their payroll because officials believed his alleged criminal behavior was harmless.
According to NBC 10, Rozniakowski was a bona fide scary-ass stalker, who was already facing dozens of harassment and stalking related charges:
NBC10 Investigator Harry Hairston put a spotlight on Rozniakowski earlier this year when the officer was placed on "administrative leave" after his former fiancee filed a protection from abuse order against him. Plymouth Township Police arrested Rozniakowski and charged him with 25 counts of stalking and 50 counts of harassment for allegedly contacting his former fiancee by phone and text repeatedly.
The Delaware County Daily Times reports Rozniakowski was on $100,000 bail in the wake of those stalking charges:
Rozniakowski is facing trial in Montgomery County, where he is accused of harassing and stalking another woman, a former fiancee'. He is currently free on $100,000 unsecured bail in that case — which includes 75 counts of stalking to cause fear, repeated harassment in an anonymous manner and harassment in a course of conduct with no legitimate purpose.
Rozniakowski's lawyer offered a half-assed apology of sorts for his clients terrifying stalking behavior back in April. "As a police officer, he knows the bounds and what the boundaries are and what the laws are," said Marty Mullaney, an attorney for Rozniakowski. "I think his emotions got the best of him."
NBC10 reported in April that Rozniakowski was placed on paid administrative leave and given office duty. According to NBC10's original report on Rozniakowski in April, Colwyn Borough Police Chief Bryan Hills said he believed what Rozniakowski had done was harmless and opted to let him remain on the job, receiving pay for office duty. Rozniakowski was charged with 75 counts of harassing/stalking, yet his police officer crony boss thought it was "harmless."
Chief Hills isn't the only Colwyn Borough official with an utterly bullshit response to Rozniakowski's abusive history. Emphasis mine:
Colwyn Borough Manager Paula Brown told ABC6, "He was taken out of uniform and off the street back in March of 2014 when the other issue surfaced. And he is not a Colwyn police officer anymore, he resigned yesterday, and everything was taken care of yesterday prior to the incident."
"Everything was taken care of yesterday." Jesus, this attempt to cover their tracks in the wake of a hideous failure could not be anymore insulting. Kudos to you for allowing a stalker to remain on your payroll and then conveniently resign moments before he killed a woman. What color would you like the balloons in your ticker tape parade? Look, you can grasp at all the straws you want, but I doubt they are going to be enough to cover all of the asses of everyone who spectacularly failed to keep a killer from seeking revenge on his stalking victim.
The Delaware County Times notes Rozniakowski's police-issued firearm was taken away after the protective order was filed and is reportedly not the weapon used in the shooting death of Morrow. Whalen is reportedly contemplating seeking the death penalty against Rozniakowski, who faces murder charges. Meanwhile, Rozniakowski remains in critical but stable condition at Crozer Chester Medical Center, under police guard.
Image via 6ABC.