Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

2 Charged in Church Shootings

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

2 Charged in Church Shootings

Article excerpt

RIDGEWOOD -- Two cousins, one of them a member of the Marine Corps, were charged by authorities Tuesday in the firing of bullets into an empty church two times late last year, incidents that police said left the community on edge and led to stepped-up patrols.

Joseph Galli, 21, of Somerville and Alex Norrell, 22, of Ridgewood both have been arrested on charges related to firing more than 40 rounds of ammunition into the Old Paramus Reformed Church on East Glen Avenue on Nov. 16 and Dec. 26, authorities said during a news conference to announce the arrests. Authorities said they believe that the men used the church as a target only because it is convenient and isolated from other buildings.

Galli, a Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, allegedly did the shooting on both occasions, according to Chief John Ward of the Ridgewood police. He was arrested in North Carolina on Monday and is expected to be extradited to Bergen County, authorities said.

Norrell was arrested last week by Ridgewood police on charges related to alleged possession of marijuana and high-capacity ammunition at his Pershing Avenue home, police said. That arrest was the result of the investigation into the church shootings and involved participation by members of the Bergen County Sheriff's Office, police said.

On his Facebook page, Norrell wrote that he is a former corporal with the U.S. Marines, and he posted news articles about the church shootings.

The shootings damaged stained-glass windows dating to 1875 at the church, which was built in the 1800s and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Church officials first noticed damage from the bullets on Dec. 28, two days after the second shooting. One bullet that entered the front of the church exited through the rear of the building, police said.

Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said he does not believe the shootings were a bias crime, and he said the church was targeted because it is "isolated" and "convenient" -- not because it is a house of worship. He declined to make further comment on a motive.

The families of both men declined to comment when reached by phone Tuesday evening. …

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