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Three Palisades Park officers involved in Nov. 25 Leonia shooting identified

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Two Palisades Park police veterans known throughout town for their work with the volunteer ambulance corps and a third who’s been on the road barely six months were identified by Chief Benjamin Ramos today as those involved in the Nov. 25 shooting death of a knife-wielding Leonia man moments after he held up a Broad Avenue CVS.

  • UPDATE: Leonia police on Dec. 6 identified the officer from their department who was involved in the shooting: Sgt. Scott Tamagny, a 19-year veteran who was a detective for eight years before being promoted.

Officer Kyung Uk (Louis) Lee began his career of public service in Palisades Park as a volunteer EMT in May 1997. A year later, he became a special officer, handing low-level law enforcement duties, records show.

Like most entry-level officeres, Lee, 35, became a civilian dispatcher in 1999. He continued working on the ambulance squad — and put time in staffing screening machines for the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office.

A year later, the borough hired him as a full-fledged police officer.

A former EMT Volunteer of the Year, Lee boasts a personnel jacket filled with certificates and citations, including commendations for his work in bias crimes. He has also worked as the department’s bias crime officer and is fluent in three languages.

A member of the Honor Legion, Lee has attended several courses with the DEA and FBI, as well as with expert police trainer Larry Holtz (arrest, search and seizure), according to his resume.

Checking the applicable boxes on the use of force form he was required to complete, Lee reported that McFadden “resisted police officer control,” posed a “[p]hysical threat/attacked on [an] officer or another,” and, critically, “threatened/attacked officer or another with knife/cutting object.”

The second officer, Christopher DeSotto checked the same boxes on his form.

An eight-year veteran with the department, DeSotto began his public career in Palisades Park, like Lee, as a volunteer emergency medical technician. He served the squad for nearly a decade — including several years as its president. He also worked as a dispatcher, and was a parking enforcement officer from 2001-2004.

DeSotto, 34, handles various certifications for department personnel, with specialties in radar, command training, crime prevention, conflict resolution, cultural diversity and community organization, among other disciplines, his resume shows.

According to use of force reports obtained from the borough, DeSotto fired his .40-caliber service weapon seven times and Lee an as-yet undetermined number of times. Officers involved in shootings are required to complete the forms, under state Attorney General guidelines.

A third Palisades Park officer was at the scene but didn’t fire his weapon, according to authorities. That officer, 21-year-old Thomas Juliano, was appointed to the force less than a year ago after being graduated from Kutztown University with a major in criminal justice.

Juliano, who comes from a family with a deep and rich history of public service, also attended Morris County Community College and has studied psychology, sociology, government affairs and constitutional law, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned.

A fourth officer involved in the incident, from Leonia, currently is not being identified. Doing so doesn’t serve any “useful purpose,” Leonia Police Chief Jay Ziegler said.

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A robbery suspect chased by police was shot and killed after he approached officers with a knife at a Leonia intersection, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned. READ MORE….


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