Mtn. Lakes killer ID’d as Kearny man

Photo by Anthony Machcinski/ Leonardo Parera, who lived in this Woodland Ave. building, was linked to fatal shooting at Morris County realty office. The photo is from his Facebook page.
Leonardo Parera



By Karen Zautyk

On Friday afternoon, as police from various jurisdictions headed for a Mountain Lakes real estate office where a woman employee had been fatally shot by a co-worker, Kearny police were converging on a Woodland Ave. apartment building, “vested up and guns drawn,” in the words of Chief John Dowie.
At the time, the killer’s whereabouts were unknown, but the man had made a call to the State Police dispatcher, stating, “I just killed someone.” He also reportedly warned the dispatcher that he was heavily armed and that the situation could “escalate.”
State Police traced the cell phone he used to the Kearny address and warned local authorities that the killer might possibly be there.
As it turned out, he was in a car in a Rt. 46 parking lot, armed with a rifle and a handgun. And when Morris County law enforcement officers approached the vehicle, he began shooting. They returned fire, and he died in the gun battle. It appeared  to be a case of what has become known as “suicide by cop.”
The killer was identified as Leonardo Parera, 39, of 6 Woodland Ave., an agent with Exit Realty Gold Service at 100 Rt. 46 in Mountain Lakes.
Authorities said Parera entered the office Friday and fatally shot office manager Christine Capone King, 47, of Jefferson Township.
At press time, authorities were still attempting to determine the motives behind Parera’s actions, which remained a mystery.
According to published reports, fellow employees insisted there had been nothing but a professional relationship between the two and that Parera had never been violent or even displayed anger while at work.
Dowie told The Observer that shortly before 5 p.m., the KPD got the alert from Hudson County 911 to respond to the Woodland Ave. building regarding an individual who had just killed someone and was in possession of multiple weapons.
The only information the dispatcher had at that point was that a call to the state police had come from a phone listed at the Kearny address and that authorities wanted to know if Parera was in the apartment.
Officers secured the  street since it was not known if Parera’s windows overlooked Woodland, and checked the apartment and cleared the roof.
Approximately 10 minutes after arriving on the scene, Dowie said, the State Police radioed that a suspect “was down” in Mountain Lakes.
Kearny officers were asked to see if Parera had left any explanatory notes in his home,  but none was found. Dowie said they did find an empty case, apparently for the handgun that was registered to Parera.
Parera shared the apartment with his mother, and Morris County authorities went there later that night to personally inform her of her son’s death. The distraught woman was taken to Clara Maass Medical Center  by Kearny EMTs for treatment of trauma and for observation and was released the next day.
Kearny police officers transported her back home and offered to contact a priest, pastor or friend to stay with her. Sources said that apparently her closest relative was in Indiana.

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