FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ (Somerset County) – A Warren County man, who was a former employee of PSE&G, fatally shot his co-worker at the PSE&G office in Franklin Township before killing himself Wednesday morning, according to Somerset County Prosecutor John P. McDonald.
On Feb. 8, at around 7:02 a.m., police responded to multiple 9-1-1 calls reporting a shooting victim within the parking lot of PSE&G, located on Weston Canal Road, McDonald said.
Responding Officers encountered Russell D. Heller, 51, of Milford Borough, who was also a borough councilman of Milford, deceased and suffering from a gunshot wound. Emergency Medical Personnel from an area Trauma Center responded to the scene where he was pronounced dead. Heller was actively employed with PSEG at the Somerset facility, McDonald said.
Detectives from the Franklin Township Police Department along with the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, the Crime Scene Investigations Unit, and investigators from the New Jersey Northern Regional Medical Examiner’s Office responded to the scene to conduct the investigation.
The investigation revealed that Gary T. Curtis, 58, Washington allegedly approached Heller in the parking lot, shooting him outside of his vehicle, McDonald said.
Then at around 10:20 a.m. detectives assigned to the investigation were able to track Curtis to a parking lot area in Bridgewater Township. Authorities approached the vehicle he was operating and observed him suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was in possession of a firearm and was pronounced dead, McDonald said.
“The investigation remains on-going to determine motive. Preliminary investigation has revealed that the shooting was an isolated incident and Mr. Heller was the intended target,” McDonald said.
“We are heartbroken at the tragic death of Russell Heller, senior distribution supervisor at PSE&G. Russell was an admired employee and a supervisor with over 11 years of service with PSE&G. He will be sorely missed by all and our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time,” PSE&G said in a Tweet. “This event is tragic and disturbing and we are offering support to our employees as they process this. We are cooperating with law enforcement with respect to their investigation. Questions about the investigation should be directed to law enforcement.”
“On behalf of the Hunterdon County Board of Commissioners, we share in the collective shock and grief felt upon learning of Russell Heller’s senseless shooting death today. Russell was a dedicated and valuable member of the Milford and Hunterdon County community whose leadership and commitment will be sorely missed. More importantly, however, Russell was a loving and caring father to his daughter and a dedicated and loyal friend to all of those who had the pleasure of knowing him. We join our colleagues in Milford in offering our most sincere heartfelt condolences to the Heller Family at this unimaginably difficult time for their tragic loss,” Hunterdon County Commissioner Director Zach Rich said.
Anyone with information relating to the homicide to contact the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Major Crimes Unit at 908-231-7100 or the Franklin Township Police Department at 732-873-5533 or via the STOPit app. The STOPit app allows citizens to provide anonymous reports including videos and photos. STOPit can be downloaded to your smart phone for free at the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, access code: SOMERSETNJ. Information can also be provided through the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477). All anonymous STOPit reports, and Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.