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Yardley man gets 15-30 years for shooting police chief


Bucks County Judge Wallace H. Bateman Monday sentenced Colin Petroziello, of Yardley, to 15 to 30 years in a state correctional institution for shooting borough police Chief Joseph Kelly on Aug. 18, 2021.

“If not for the heroics of the police chief and others acting in a quick and efficient manner, this could have been much worse,” Bateman was quoted as saying in a statement from the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office.

Petroziello, 25, of Yardley, entered a no contest plea in September to counts of attempted homicide of a law enforcement officer, two counts of attempted murder, six counts of aggravated assault, and one count each of assault of a law enforcement officer, persons not to possess a firearm, false imprisonment, recklessly endangering another person and possession of an instrument of crime.

Petroziello’s father, Guy Petroziello, said that given his son’s long struggle with mental health issues, including episodes of paranoia, delusions and a pervasive belief that he was being hunted by men with guns, his family was “stunned” by the sentence.

“It was harsh considering how much mental issues played a role in this,” said Guy Petroziello, who testified during the sentencing hearing but said he felt the judge was set on what he was going to impose.

Kelly, who has recovered from injuries to his hand and ear, also testified at the sentencing hearing along with Bucks County Adult Probation and Parole Officer Cristina Viviano, who’d gone to the Yardley Commons Condominiums that morning at the request of Petroziello’s parents.

Upon arrival, Viviano and Kelly came under fire when Petroziello, reportedly angry and intoxicated, fired a shotgun through the closed door, touching off a four-hour standoff with police.

Petroziello previously had two involuntary mental health commitments, making him ineligible to possess a firearm under Pennsylvania law. He also had an active protection-from-abuse order against him from his maternal aunt, according to the statement from the district attorney’s office.

Guy Petroziello stressed that there needed to be accountability for his son’s actions but that, after 30 years in a state correctional facility, he’d emerge as a 55-year-old man who’d spent more than half his life behind bars over something that happened while he was in the throes of his illness and unable to make rational decisions.

“Anyone with a loved one with mental illness understands how hard it is to get services in this country’s broken mental health system,” he said. “Instead they slide into the criminal justice system and, instead of getting help, they get punished.”

Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said Aug. 18, 2021 is a day he’ll never forget.

“I’m convinced that Chief Kelly’s heroic actions that day saved not only Probation Officer Viviano’s life, but his own, and the life of Mr. Petroziello himself,” the statement quoted him as saying. “Although Chief Kelly and PO Viviano must bear the physical and mental scars of that day forever, they both also serve as a living testament to all that’s good and pure in law enforcement.”

Guy Petroziello said he is hoping that his son will be assigned to a correctional facility with a robust program of mental health services and treatments.

“He has spent his life sad and lonely,” he said. “I am not sure that he has ever known real happiness. I hope that somehow he finds purpose for his life.”

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