Asbury Park, NJ- Sergeant Philip Seidle, a 22-year veteran of the Neptune Township Police Department, faces charges of first-degree murder and child endangerment after he allegedly chased down his ex-wife in his car before fatally shooting her in front of their daughter, with several witnesses and police officers in the vicinity.
According to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Tamara Seidle, Philip Seidle’s ex-wife, was driving her black Volkswagen sedan in Asbury Park, New Jersey at about 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, followed by Phillip close behind her driving a silver Honda Pilot. The Seidle’s 7-year-old daughter was with Phillip in the passenger seat of the Pilot.
Witnesses reported that Tamara was speeding and “looked scared.” First Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Marc LeMieux described Tamara as “fleeing” from Phillip. Police said that Tamara’s car bumped into a police vehicle involved in an unrelated accident investigation before crashing into a parked vehicle on another street. The Asbury Park Press created a diagram showing the sequence of events that can be seen here.
Phillip Seidle then allegedly rammed his Pilot into Tamara’s car, exited the vehicle, and approached the driver’s side window of Tamara’s vehicle before firing multiple shots at close range using his service weapon.
LeMieux said that Phillip Seidle proceeded to put the weapon, a .40-caliber Glock, to his head while walking around Tamara’s car.
Police officers, who were nearby looking into a separate car accident, recognized Seidle and convinced him to allow them to remove his daughter from his vehicle; once the child was removed from the car, Seidle approached the front of Tamara’s vehicle and fired several more shots at her through the windshield. Police said there was a standoff between officers and Seidle before he surrendered at 11:52 a.m. Tamara died a short time later at a hospital.
Officers at the scene declined use of force during the incident. Some experts, including a former police captain, have speculated that officers should have taken more serious action before Phillip Seidle fired a second round of shots at the victim. Tom Aveni, executive director of the Police Policy Studies Council, said “Should they [police] have allowed him to shoot his wife again? No.”
LeMieux was asked why police chose not to use force on Phillip Seidle when he fired at his ex-wife a second time, and he answered that the issue is “under investigation at this point in time.”
Phillip and Tamara Seidle divorced on May 27. During the standoff, witnesses and police said that Phillip Seidle had expressed frustration about going to court, paying alimony, and not being able to see their nine children often enough. Tamara had custody of the children following the divorce.
The Asbury Park Press reported that Tamara had accused Phillip of violence and physical and emotional abuse. According to court documents, she claimed that Phillip had kicked her in the stomach and pointed a loaded gun at her head during pregnancy.
Seidle pleaded not guilty on Wednesday and is currently being held on $2 million bail.