Updated, 12 p.m., April 4: Patrick Frezza, ex-detective and former K9 handler for the Village of Brewster, is in jail without bail after a standoff with police at his home, officials say.
According to Chief Mike Johnson of the Carmel Police Department (CPD), officers and members of the Putnam County Emergency Response Team surrounded Frezza's residence, on Wayacross Road in Mahopac, around 8 a.m. Friday. They arrived after his wife reportedly told a family friend her husband was "emotionally distraught" following a verbal argument.
The friend told police Frezza, 50, had reportedly fired a 45-caliber handgun several times inside the home. No one was injured, police said. The man's wife and two teenage children had left the home before authorities arrived.
"The home was surrounded and adjoining homes in the area were evacuated, because the husband [Frezza] was known to have a large cache of firearms in the residence," police said in a press release. "The husband contacted his wife via telephone and advised her to call the police because he wanted to have a confrontation with the police ... After speaking with Carmel Police negotiators, Officers Thomas Raffaele and Richard Rosario, the husband voluntarily surrendered to the police at approximately 8:45 AM."
Frezza, who resigned from his post as a part-time member of the Brewster Police Department [BPD] in late February, is facing three counts of felony reckless endangerment and the following misdemeanors: three counts of second-degree menacing and one count of endangering the welfare of a child.
After being cleared at the Putnam Hospital Center Friday, Frezza was arraigned before Carmel Town Justice Thomas Jacobellis. He was remanded to the Putnam County Correctional Facility without bail, pending an April 10 court appearance. An officer there confirmed Tuesday that Frezza was still in jail.
According to information provided by the Carmel Justice Court, Carmel-based lawyer Christopher Maher is on file as Frezza's attorney. A call made to Maher's office Tuesday afternoon was not returned.
"This hit everyone as a shock," Village Mayor Jim Schoenig said. "We wish Pat and his family the best at this time."
Brewster officials said that Frezza——resigned Feb. 24 because of personal issues, but had hopes of returning to work. Because of those hopes, he had kept , at his home.
Schoenig said that Cobra was returned last week to Mike D'Abruzzo, the Garrison resident who donated the dog in February. D'Abruzzo owns Cortlandt Manor-based K9-1 Specialized Dog Training, LLC.
"We are not looking into any other K9 units," the mayor said Monday. "As of now, that's done."
Brewster Police Chief John DelGardo said the K9 unit was a "gift," and not an expense. He told Patch that Frezza took care of both Cezar and Cobra's food on his own, and that the K9 patrol car, equipped with a cage, was a donation. Schoenig said that the first K9 vehicle, which was used from 2008 to 2010, was one that Frezza purchased himself at a police auction and subsequently donated to the Village.
The Village sold the original K9 car in 2011 because repairs were too costly, according to the mayor. The current K9 vehicle is a 2006 Chevrolet Impala, which the Village has owned since 2006. Officials say it was retrofitted at no cost for K9 use, thanks to a donated cage and donated labor.
Frezza, who worked two days per week, would generally take that vehicle home if his K9 partner was on the job.
The Village did foot the bill for some of Cezar's medical bills. Assemblyman Steve Katz (R, C — Yorktown), a veterinarian, was slated to provide his services for Cobra at no charge.
"Everybody in this county got a piece of him and that dog," DelGardo said. "Sometimes he'd leave his house in the middle of the night, and help the State Police, the [Putnam County] Sheriff's Office or the Carmel Police. The bottom line is that the Village got a dog with an experience K9 officer to patrol the streets."
Frezza and Cezar came to BPD in August of 2008, after years of working together with the Yonkers Police Department. DelGardo said Monday that he had not heard of any disciplinary issues in Frezza's past, and that, as far as he knew, he retired from Yonkers in good standing.
"He was a good cop who did his job, and he was very proud and very happy to be working for the Village," he told Patch, adding that Frezza was like a "gentle giant." "We don't understand everything that happened."
DelGardo was working Friday morning when he heard a call come over the radio for responders to head to the Mahopac home.
"I said, 'That's Pat's house, it can't be.' I was floored," he said, adding that he and Frezza worked together on a regular basis. He has been in touch with Frezza's wife and said that the family members are "holding their own."
He also spoke to Frezza after the incident on Friday.
"He's in trouble," he said. "Anybody could snap. Something happened there ... I feel sorry for him, and really sorry for his family. I hope he can regain his life."