PSE&G Supervisor Killed by Ex-employee

13 Feb, 2023 Liz Carey

                               

Franklin Township, NJ (WorkersCompensation.com) – A former employee, allegedly disgruntled a disciplinary actions taken against him, shot and killed his supervisor at the PSE&G headquarters Wednesday. 

The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office said Russell Heller, an 11-year veteran of PSE&G was found dead next to his car in the headquarters’ parking lot. Heller was also a Councilman in nearby Milford, police said. The shooting was not politically motivated however, police said. 

“The investigation has revealed that the motive for the homicide in which Mr. Curtis fatally shot Mr. Heller was due to prior employment disciplinary actions between subordinate and supervisor,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Authorities said Gary T. Curtis, 58, was suspected of the shooting. Police officers found Curtis about a mile away, in a Bridgeport parking lot, the victim of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot would. The revolver in his possession was found to have been used in both shootings. 

PSE&G said it was cooperating with authorities. 

“We are heartbroken at the tragic death of Russell Heller, senior distribution supervisor at PSE&G,” the company said in a statement. “Russell was an admired employee and a supervisor with over 11 years of service with PSE&G. He will be sorely missed by all and our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time. This event is tragic and disturbing and we are offering support to our employees as they process this.”

PSE&G has not provided any information about Curtis’ employment history. 

Curtis’ cousin, Robert Williams, told N.J. Advance Media that Curtis had been fired from PSE&G last year. While Curtis never explained to him what happened, Williams said, he did say he had filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in regard to some alleged harassment in either 2021 or 2022. 

Williams said Curtis felt that PSE&G didn’t do anything to address the EEOP complaint. 

The family called the shooting out of character for Williams. 

“What Gary did was out of character,” Williams told NJ Advance Media. “We never knew him to be a person who would ever be pushed to a point where he would carry out something that he did (Wednesday). We’re just beyond shocked. We’re sad for everyone who is involved in this situation.”

Records show that in November 2022 police investigated after PSE&G Long Island employees found a noose inside a company facility in Hewlett. Officials with the company said it was working with Crime Stoppers and will be offering a $5,000 reward for information in the incident that leads to an arrest. 

"We're working with law enforcement on this," a spokesperson with the company said. "We take this incredibly seriously."

Police at the time said there had been no other similar incident reported to the police. 

Just a few months ago, in August 2022, PSE&G saw another death when a contract worker was killed while trimming trees near Long Island. Suffolk police said Edis Rene Maldonado, 40, died when he fell 20 feet from a bucket truck. He was declared dead at the scene. 

In 2012, a PSE&G worker was shocked by a 13,000 volt line but survived.

Authorities said the accident happened at a Livingston facility when a lineman came in direct contact with the line. Fellow workers immediately performed CPR until first responders could arrive with a defibrillator, Ralph LaRossa, PSE&G’s president at that time said. 

The man had injuries to his hands and was taken to the hospital before being released to his family. The electricity entered the man’s body in one hand, officials said, and exited out the other. 

Linemen at the facility passed the hat for the injured worker, LaRossa said. Employees from other states in the area to help with restoration efforts for Hurricane Sandy. 

"This was a spontaneous and heartfelt action by people working 16 hours a day far from home," the company said in a statement. "It has deeply touched our company."


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    About The Author

    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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