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Morris County officials close case on Mountain Lakes shooting

Morris County officials close case on Mountain Lakes shooting

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Family and colleagues still don't know why Leonardo Parera shot and killed his co-worker before dying in a police shooting.


MOUNTAIN LAKES — After a nearly four-month investigation, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office has ended its investigation into Leonardo Parera, the man who murdered his co-worker at the Exit Realty Gold office in Mountain Lakes and died in what authorities said was likely a "suicide by cop."
But what possessed Parera to walk into the real estate office on Route 46 on Oct. 14 with a 9mm semi-automatic pistol, stand behind Chris Capone King and fire 15 shots as she sat at her desk may never be known, Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi said Thursday.
During a press conference in Morristown, Bianchi also said there was no evidence King and Parera had anything more than a professional relationship.
"The investigation involved an extensive forensic examination of Christine King’s computer and phone records, both of which revealed no contacts from her to him," Bianchi said. "The computer of Mr. Parera did not reveal any contact with Christine King."
After shooting King, Parera left the office and walked toward his car.
He then made a chilling call to 911 in which he told the police dispatcher he had just killed someone.
During the call, the 39-year-old Kearny man falsely claimed to have a long gun, Bianchi said. Before hanging up, Parera also told the dispatcher he had to make another call.
That call, the prosecutor said, was to his mother and sister.
Then, he made one final plea to the dispatcher: Send the police. But, he warned he would shoot officers when they arrived.
"You know what? I’m armed. I’m dangerous. Send the cops out," Parera said. "I can see from every angle. I will shoot at anyone who approaches the car."
Parera made good on his threat, firing at least eight shots at police while sitting in his white Honda Civic, Bianchi said.

"One came very close," to hitting an officer, the prosecutor said.
Police ordered Parera to surrender but he refused and continued to fire, Bianchi said.
Police returned fire; 10 officers fired 65 shots in 23 seconds, Bianchi said. Parera was shot 11 times, while another 53 shots hit his car, he said.
A grand jury Thursday morning determined the police shooting was justified, Bianchi said.
"No officer, even when use of force was justified as is the case here, enjoys being responsible for taking another person’s life," Bianchi said. "The actions of these officers were nothing short of heroic."
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