Off-Duty New Jersey Police Officer Charged With Murdering Ex-Wife in Front of Daughter, 7: Prosecutor

A veteran off-duty police officer allegedly chased his ex-wife in a vehicle to a Jersey Shore intersection where she crashed Tuesday, then walked up to her car and fired several gunshots, striking her multiple times and killing her as their 7-year-old daughter watched from the front passenger seat of her father's vehicle not far away, prosecutors said.

Off-duty Neptune police officer and sergeant Philip Seidle, 51, was arrested on first-degree murder, weapons and child endangerment charges in the death of his ex-wife, 51-year-old Tamara Seidle, after the shooting around 11:30 a.m. near Ridge and Sewell avenues in Asbury Park, prosecutors said.

According to prosecutors, police responding to a report of an unrelated motor vehicle accident in the area saw a 2012 black Volkswagen Jetta driven by Tamara Seidle turn onto Sewell Avenue. Behind that car was a silver Honda Pilot being driven by her ex-husband, Philip Seidle.

As the former couple turned their respective cars onto Sewell Avenue, the woman's car hit an unoccupied parked vehicle, authorities said. Prosecutors allege Seidle then drove his car into his ex-wife's vehicle, got out of the Honda, pulled out a handgun and approached the driver's side window of his ex-wife's car. Once he got close, Siedle allegedly fired into the driver's side window several times, then took his gun and held it to his own head.

Prosecutors said Seidle walked around the area near his ex-wife's car for a few minutes, holding the gun to his head as his 7-year-old daughter watched from the front passenger seat of the Honda. Police managed to remove the child from the scene. 

Seidle then allegedly walked to the front of the Jetta and fired several shots through the front of the windshield; it's not clear how many times his ex-wife was hit.

A 30-minute standoff between members of law enforcement and Seidle ensued, prosecutors said; Seidle had a gun to his head the whole time. Law enforcement officers talked to him and ultimately managed to convince him to put the weapon down and surrender, according to officials.

Prosecutors say video of the incident has been published on social media; they're asking anyone with video of photos to contact them at 800-533-7443. 

Prosecutors said the couple's divorce had been finalized last month and Seidle's ex-wife won custody of their nine children, who range in age from 7 to 24. While authorities declined to specify a possible motive, they said Seidle spoke about issues regarding the children prior to the shooting.

Seidle was hired by the Neptune Police Department on July 1993 and promoted to sergeant of the patrol division in January 2009.

The 22-year Neptune police veteran is currently being held in Monmouth County Correctional Institution in Freehold Township on $2 million bail, according to prosecutors. Information on an attorney for Seidle wasn't immediately available.  

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