Cousins indicted for shooting up empty historic church

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RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (AP) — Two cousins have been indicted for 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, 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.


Information from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.),

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