The father of the Centereach man accused of fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend in New Jersey before jumping in front of a subway train in Harlem on Thursday said the couple "fought like cats and dogs."
Arthur Lomando's father, Arthur Lomando Sr., said his son and Suzanne Bardzell were dating on and off for three years and that things spiraled out of control this month after Bardzell filed a temporary restraining order against his son.
The younger Lomando was taken to Harlem Hospital for surgery Thursday, The Associated Press reported. The father said his son's legs had been amputated.
"I mean, don't get me wrong. I am sick to death of what happened," said Lomando Sr. "That he actually took her life. It's beyond comprehension."
Lomando, 44, a former NYPD officer and father of two teenagers from a previous marriage, is a suspect in the killing of Bardzell.
He sustained "severe" injuries to his head and legs after he jumped in front of the train at the Amsterdam and St. Nicholas Avenue stop in Manhattan on Thursday night, Bergen County, New Jersey, Prosecutor John Molinelli told the AP. His condition was not known Friday night.
The prosecutor told the AP that Lomando stabbed Bardzell, 48, with a machete-like knife at her Midland Park home. The special education teacher, who had two teenage sons, died at the scene, Molinelli said. New Jersey authorities had issued warrants charging Lomando with murder, weapons offenses and violating a restraining order.
In 2004, Lomando was fired after 10 years as an NYPD officer, days before his disability retirement was to take effect, court records show.
He claimed he suffered from depression, but officials found he made false and misleading statements to his commanding officer during an official departmental investigation, court records show. He filed a lawsuit last year seeking to be reinstated but lost.
Lomando Sr. said when he got to the hospital Friday he was told he couldn't see his son, second eldest of eight children.
The father said his son had plans to fly out to visit him in Las Vegas Saturday but something made him snap. He also said his son fought depression.
He said Bardzell had recently taken out a temporary restraining order against his son and accused him of violating the order several times, including one time when an airline erroneously sent Bardzell a confirmation for Lomando's flight itinerary to Las Vegas.
Bardzell received a temporary restraining order against Lomando on Oct. 8, said Midland Park Police Chief Michael Powderley, and by the next day he had violated the order four times. Powderley said the violations don't necessarily mean Lomando showed up at Bardzell's home each time but that he contacted her in some way.
On Oct. 10 about 1 a.m., Powderley said, Suffolk police attempted unsuccessfully to take Lomando into custody.
"He ended up calling us that morning around 1 a.m. to tell us these were false charges," Powderley said. "We just asked him to come in and that it's best that he come in and handle this."
About 6 a.m. that day, a Midland Park police patrol officer noticed Lomando's car parked near Bardzell's home, which set off a massive search.
During the search, Lomando's attorney called police to assure them his client was safe. But he also told police that Lomando had attempted to harm himself before, Powderley said.
"So we were dealing with obviously the safety of the victim and her family and then we were dealing with the fact that he may try to harm himself," Powderley said,adding that he asked Lomando's attorney to urge his client to surrender.
That day, Lomando turned himself in and was released after posting $10,000 bond.
"It's sad and devastating and we feel for the family," Powderley said.
Lomando's mental health issues had been brought up before as a problem when he was an NYPD officer.
In November 2001, he was placed on restricted duty following complaints that he suffered from depression. The police psychological evaluation unit then began monitoring him.
He submitted an application for retirement on ordinary disability in September 2003, stating that he couldn't perform his duties due to depression, insomnia and fatigue. But a department psychologist found him to be fit for duty and the agency didn't support his disability request.
The next month, he reported sick for psychological reasons and after additional exams was diagnosed with "major depressive disorders and panic attacks." His application for retirement was approved for ordinary disability with a final diagnosis of "personality disorder NOS."
There were further investigations of him and the department reopened the case to see whether he was in fact disabled and unable to work. The original decision that he couldn't work as a cop was reaffirmed April 30, 2004. On June 8, 2004, the NYPD chief of personnel and medical unit chief recommended that he be terminated. The commissioner terminated him on July 7, 2004.
Lomando contended that the termination of his employment days before his ordinary disability retirement was to take effect was in bad faith. He challenged the issue in court but lost in an Article 78 proceeding with a decision dated Aug. 24, 2005, by Judge Doris Ling-Cohan. The court took into account a false statement he made in an effort to resist being restored to full duty. The judge found that he maintained an off-duty job for 20 hours a week, something he sometimes denied to his superiors, the court stated. The cops did surveillance and found he worked off-duty as a delivery truck driver.
Lomando's mother, Jeannette, said Friday that her son had been struggling with mental health issues for some time and had been to several therapists and psychologists for help in dealing with depression.
She said the tragedy has left many victims -- Bardzell, her family and Lomando's family.
"That shouldn't have ever gone that far but he's still my son. I gave birth to him. He wasn't like this," she said. "Yes, I know what he did. And yes, I'm very sorry that he did it. And I'm very sorry for the family. And I'm very sorry for a lot of things."