Yardley Man Enters Open to Plea for Shooting of Police Chief
A 25-year-old man entered an open plea on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, to attempted murder and related charges for the shooting Yardley Police Chief Joseph Kelly and attempting to shoot a Bucks County Adult Probation and Parole Officer.
Colin Frank Petroziello, of Yardley, appeared before President Judge Wallace H. Bateman Jr. and entered a no contest plea to firing a shotgun at Chief Kelly who was assisting a Bucks County probation officer on an offender check at the Yardley Commons Condominiums on Aug. 18, 2021.
Chief Kelly suffered injuries to his ear and hand.
After the shooting, Petroziello barricaded himself and his mother inside his apartment at 806 Yardley Commons. He was taken into custody after a more than 4-hour standoff.
Petroziello pleaded to attempted homicide of a law enforcement officer, two counts of attempted murder, six counts of aggravated assault, and one count each of assault of a law enforcement officer, persons not to possess a firearm, false imprisonment, recklessly endangering another person and possession of an instrument of crime.
Sentencing was deferred for 90 days. Because one of the victims was a Bucks County Adult Probation and Parole Officer, a pre-sentence investigation will be conducted by Lehigh County authorities.
At 11 a.m. on Aug. 18, 2021, Bucks County Adult Probation/Parole Officer Cristina Viviano arrived to conduct an offender check on Petroziello. She heard doors slamming and arguing coming from inside his apartment, and immediately called for assistance from Yardley Borough Police.
Chief Kelly arrived a short time later.
Petroziello was angry, agitated and intoxicated and was armed prior to police arrival, however his mother never gave that information when she called for assistance from probation.
Petroziello’s mother also texted Viviano, asking her if she was still on her way while never mentioning her son was armed.
Kelly and Viviano approached Petroziello’s door, knocked and identified themselves as police.
At a preliminary hearing held on Aug. 31, 2021, Kelly testified he was able to peer into a windowpane on the door and could see a male, later identified as Petroziello, inside, aiming a shotgun at the door.
Kelly was able to move as Petroziello fired a shotgun through the front door with the projectiles penetrating the door and striking Kelly in the hand and ear.
Armed with the shotgun, Petroziello barricaded himself in the unit and prevented his mother from leaving and police from entering. Law enforcement agencies from throughout Bucks County converged on the scene and established a perimeter.
At Thursday’s plea hearing, First Assistant District Attorney Jennifer M. Schorn commended the more than 19 police agencies who arrived to assist, some from neighboring counties and New Jersey.
The South Central Bucks County Emergency Response Team helped to get Petroziello’s mother out through a window. Before she got out, Petroziello’s mother was able to toss a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun out the window when her son fell asleep.
When the SERT Team later made entry, they found Petroziello unconscious. They recovered a loaded .45-caliber handgun tucked in his waistband, and a second loaded magazine was found in his pants pocket. Bucks County Detectives also found a set of brass knuckles in Petroziello’s bedroom.
A background check revealed Petroziello was twice committed on involuntary mental health commitments, making him ineligible to possess a firearm under Pennsylvania law. He also had an active protection-from-abuse order against him from his maternal aunt.
Bucks County Detectives led the investigation with the assistance of Lower Makefield Township Police Department, Yardley Borough Police Department, Newtown Township Police Department, the South Central Bucks County Emergency Response Team and Pennsylvania State Police.
Kelly returned to work, earning a hero’s welcome shortly after Petroziello’s
First Assistant District Attorney Jennifer M. Schorn is assigned to prosecute the case.