New Jersey

Cousins Indicted for Shooting Up Empty Historic Church in NJ

Two cousins have been indicted for allegedly using large-capacity weapons to fire more than 40 bullets into a northern New Jersey church recognized as a nationally historic structure. 

No one was inside the Old Paramus Reformed Church when 22-year-old Joseph Galli, of Somerville, allegedly fired a high-powered AR-15 rifle at the building on Nov. 16 and Dec. 26, 2014, breaking a stained glass window dating to 1875, police said. Alexander Norrell, 23, was also charged in the shooting.

A grand jury found that Norrell, of Ridgewood, unlawfully possessed a large-capacity weapon, according to the indictment. Both men were indicted on gun charges for an assault rifle, a sawed-off shotgun and another rifle. They were also charged with causing more than $2,000 in property damage.

Church officials first noticed the bullet holes two days after the second shooting. The incident led to stepped-up police patrols around the church and the area's schools, The Record newspaper reported.

Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said at the time of the arrests he believes the church was targeted because it's "isolated" and "convenient" — not because it was a house of worship.

Police suspected Galli, a Marine stationed in North Carolina, as the shooter on both occasions. He was arrested Jan. 12 in North Carolina, days after Norrell was charged with possession of marijuana and high-capacity ammunition.

Norrell is free on bail. Galli is being held at Bergen County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail. Information on their lawyers wasn't immediately available.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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