Officer Charged in Deadly Carbondale Shooting

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SCRANTON -- A Carbondale police officer is now charged with shooting and killing a man last month in Lackawanna County.

Officer Frank Schulze is accused in the shooting death of Joseph Molinaro, 34, of Carbondale.

His attorney said Schulze faces one count of homicide for Molinaro's death.

Meredith Wollverton held on to her son Frank Schulze as he walked toward the Lackawanna County Courthouse to answer to homicide charges, the last place she thought she would be, less than two years after her son started his career as a Carbondale police officer.

"This is something; it's something that in the deepest part of his soul that he wanted to do. He wanted this more than anything. He loves his job and he loves protecting the people of Carbondale," Wollverton said.

Schulze was charged with an open count of criminal homicide, assault, and reckless endangerment for the February 2 shooting of Joseph Molinaro.

Schulze was off duty when he and Molinaro confronted each other which led to a foot chase. Surveillance video caught part of it with Officer Schulze following Molinaro with his gun pointed at him.

Schulze shoots Molinaro on the next city block over.

"If a police officer commits a crime, the appropriate charges will be filed."

Lackawanna County District Attorney Shane Scanlon shared part of the lengthy investigation with Newswatch 16.

Court papers show discrepancies between Officer Schulze's version of events and those of an eyewitness who says Schulze and Molinaro were at least 10 feet apart when three shots were fired.

Schulze says Molinaro lunged at him and that his life was in danger.

"Different people will perceive things in different manners. Both police officers and private citizens at that point have options. You can pick up the phone, you can call 911, you call for assistance, you can retreat into your house. There were different options that maybe should have been followed," said Scanlon.

Schulze's attorney and family hoped for a lesser charge, like manslaughter, that would allow Officer Schulze the right to bail.

"I believe it was overkill, absolutely, I believe the charges, an open count of criminal homicide? Which does encompass first, second, third, voluntary and involuntary is absolutely unwarranted in this case and was not grounded in facts," said Schulze's attorney Corey Kolcharno.

Officer Schulze was taken into custody after his arraignment. His attorney filed paperwork late Thursday afternoon hoping to get bail for Officer Schulze, who is still on administrative leave from the Carbondale Police Department.

We talked to Joseph Molinaro's family. They said that what happened on February 2 destroyed two families.

 

51 comments

  • Justice for Joey

    There is no reason he should have even came out with his gun. By him doing that in my eyes he was looking for trouble. His lawyer stated that he was in fear of his family’s well being. But your almost 3 blocks from your house. It’s crazy that it took this long for him to be charged. If this is just a regular guy they would have been locked up since the day it happened. I have know Frank a few years and I always said he was going to kill a innocent person once he became a officer. And people that are trying to play Joey for being a bad person cuz of his past are complete idiots. Let justice be served for joeys family!!

  • Steve Paris

    As far as the mainstream media goes, the full facts of the case are not totally public at this point. We can all weigh in with our opinions, but none of us really know what happened that night, as we were not there. Personally, whether he was on the clock is not the issue. You may think it is, but fact is, that Joey DID know Officer Schulze and knew that he was a police officer. THAT IS A FACT!. I am confident in the fact that he still identified himself as a police officer, regardless. Bashing a man for doing his job, (a job that actually never stops, regardless of a time clock) is not the way to handle any of this. And, YES, I do know and fully support Officer Schulze, I have known him for many years, and he would never do something like this out of malice. He is a family man, who respected and loved the law and his career.

  • Injustice

    Shows how much you pro- Shultz know. There was two survlience cameras that caught this cop in action. One was taken down out of respect for the family so they didn’t have to relive their sons final last moments on FB over and over. The DA has the longer version from a different camera. That’s would be why he is charged with homicide.
    How many Blocks does it take to be considered pre-meditated? Um 1 or 2? Try as soon as that off duty officer made that choice to kill a man because, him and his girlfriend laughing to loud before the city noise ordonance. Ya can’t go around and shoot people because they are loud going by your house. Then follow them? Accept it people yes your friend Shultz murdered an unarmed man. And it would be nice to see some remorse from this officer instead of his cockiness and holier then thou attitude. Watch the news. Not once did he apologize for anything. Joey was dead. And that officer didn’t have so much as a hair out of place on his head. He was in no danger. But he had fun creating it didn’t he? Some madman in civilian clothes who never stated he was an officer until after he shot Joey. He is not God he can not choose who should live and who should die. And that’s exactly what he did that night. Civilians have rights too. You can all support Shultz. Write him a letter go visit him. At least he has his life. Something he tore away from Joey and his family. But it’s of comfort knowing that Shultz is behind bars where his toilet and his sink are attached while eating dogfood. And as far as Joeys
    “Criminal record” you people do know it’s against the law as well to shoot someone because of that right? What we do know is that Joey didn’t have murder on his record. But Shultz does. He committed a heinous crime that forever left blood on his hands. I would say that is worse then anything Joey has done in his life. So you look like fools when comparing the two. There is no comparison to murder. Shultz is charged with the crime he knowingly committed. Nothing any of you can say to hurt the family will change that Shultz is a cold blooded murderer. You are all just mad because our Judicial System is for the people this time, and not your friend.

  • Nate Wildermaker

    I have known officer schulze since we were 3, I would without hesitation put my life in his hands and trust his judgement. I have known him as a level headed and good hearted man. I am confident that if he says he felt threatened then that is what happened.

    • Injustice

      That’s nice Nate when he gets out in 20 years he can be your bodyguard. He is charged because of the evidence against him.

  • rayzin42

    God bless you in heaven Joey, this is the best news that could have come from this. That lil punk just wanted to act tough, and he ends up shooting someone. I’m so happy to hear he’s in jail without bail… Maybe even some prison justice will be passed out..

    • Mike

      A man with a history like that? Doubt he will hear your prayers in heaven, he’s going somewhere warmer

      • Injustice

        Don’t judge unless you are perfect Mike. Hmmm wonder how many skeletons you have in your closet to think shooting an unarmed man is OK. Joey’s in Heaven. But you can always visit your friend in prison were he belongs. 😁

  • Jake S. Farm

    Ok so let me get this straight. An officer sworn to protect and serve his community is being punished for doing …his job? Call me foolish but I do believe that they are sworn to protect and serve on AND off duty. Oh and let’s not forget about that “solid video evidence”. Yup a whole 10 seconds of them walking across the screen. Are you kidding me? How exactly is that evidence? All it shows is someone blatantly disregarding orders from an officer of the law which last I checked is a crime. So who exactly is in the wrong. So youre gonna penalize this officer on what grounds exactly? Some heresay on social media? Oh right, but State troopers opening fire on a National Guardsman like they’re a firing squad is justified? Give me a break. The truth will come out, and oh what a day it will be. Loads of support for you Officer Schulze.

    • rayzin42

      Your an idiot Jake. Upholding what law? The punk was off duty. Most normal people would have called the actual on duty cops if there’s a problem.. Your as stupid as that punk

    • rayzin42

      Hope do you know he’s disregarding orders? And who is he to give orders anyway – because he’s a lil punk with a gun? So what video do you see of him disregarding this ahole “officer”? Looks like Joey is getting to walk away from a problem, but the gutless punk pursued him, till he got to shoot… Your as stupid as the cops! Happy Easter in jail ya punk!! 😆

    • Injustice

      Oh I am sorry Jake I didn’t know that killing an unarmed man was part of Carbondale police force. Nope seems only Shultz thought that way. He embarrassed the police force. They are angry about what Shultz did so don’t be looking for any support from the CPD they are ashamed of Shultz don’t get it twisted. Smdh

  • Injustice

    Shultz is NOT a nice guy. Nice people do not follow a person like a target for two blocks instigating a fight until he felt it was time to just murder the man. You retreat and call ON DUTY officers. He had 2 blocks to think about that. And he chose to kill. He snapped. He let anger make a fatal decision that would leave two families torn apart. There are many victims in this case. If you are in fear for your life you do not follow that fear with a hunting rifle. If everyone went swinging a gun in civilian clothing every time they were angry, it would be a total war zone. So know our laws do not practice genocide. Remember Joey didn’t die with a murder on his “Criminal Record”. Nor blood on his hands. But Shultz does. Who is the real monster now? You people defending this officers actions are quite comical and sad. Reality is reality. And for all you people bashing Joey, it’s sickening that you act as if the shooting was justified because of someone’s record. Therefore gives you the right to shoot them not once but twice?. And as long as the good CPD officers continue to do their job I know we will be safe. Just need to get rid of a couple more. Now let this officer take his consequences the same as anyone else would have to. He has been charged with a serious crime. Nothing any of you people say about Joey will change the fact Shultz killed the unarmed man. If there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Shultz of wrong doings he would have been charged with a lesser charge. Commonsense people please.

  • Mayor of the Pothole

    Get yourself onto google maps and find the turkey hill, then find chestnut street. People don’t track deer that far. Was this not enough time to call for another officer to come and assist the situation. Is he weeding the herd on that side of town that’s why his old lady lives there? Hes borderline terrorist, can he just go and execute anyone that he seems fit? He killed a guy, a father, a slew of family terms. Mr. Molinaro could have been calling him a dirty c sucker. That’s his right. So what he had a bad record, lots of people do. He wasn’t in uniform, or showing a badge, making any motion that he was coming in peace. This defender of peace had a gun, apparently he thought he was outmatched!

    • Concerned citizen 570

      A couple blocks. Funny how the last time I called the cops it took 30min for them to arrive. guess they got a teleporter since then. Also Mr. Molinaro seems a LOT bigger than the officer. so yes he was outmatched (especially if the suspect was coming from a party possibly being under the infuluence of something). I’d love to know why people think he murdered him. Last I checked you don’t see the shooting on the video. How do we know what happened at that time? Maybe it actually was a defensive shoot. I suggest waiting for all the facts to be released.

  • John Bagel

    The media including WNEP has changed their stories since day one almost daily. Its obvious they have no idea what they’re talking about and just want to get a story out. The DA only wants to see and believe the false reports. This man has risked his life to protect the people of Carbondale. When you’re sworn into a department, you swear to protect on and off duty which is what he did. Police officers everywhere will now be afraid to do their jobs. My heart goes out to the Molinaro family for their loss but this amazing father, brother, friend and son is now in prison without bail for being forced to defend himself. He and his family must be in shambles over this. I support officer Schulze in this time and he deserves the support from everyone who has enough sense to see past the media and understand his grueling job he must do every day.

    • Bob

      You obviously have family or friends that are police. What this scumbag did has nothing to do with policing or safety and he will pay for it.

      • Concerned citizen 570

        My heart goes out to the Molinaro family as well. When you have to defend your life, you have to still live with the fact you took another human’s life. I love how people are referencing “the video evidence” which doesn’t show squat. I am by no means a “Cop Lover” however I know that they have a duty to protect on and OFF duty. thats what it seems to be here in this situation. the facts guarenteed will show.

    • Jer Tobin

      Blah blah blah. You’re an obvious cop apologist type who feels anyone slapping on a badge and a gun are perfect superheroes that can do no wrong. The video evidence that’s out there on this case overwhelmingly shows his turd was completely in the wrong, and I hope he spends a depressing, arduous life behind bars. Death penalty is too good for him. Maybe it will send a message to all the other scumbag cops out there that they aren’t above the law.

    • katiesuebaron

      He wasn’t “forced to defend himself”, there is video of the incident and I suggest you watch it. A man deserves to lose his life because he was arguing with his girlfriend? If a man in his boxers was stalking me with a gun, I would assume he was a thug rather than an officer as well. We have a great police force, my son wants to be an officer one day, but a badge is not a do-whatever-you-want-get-out-of-jail-free card. Again, I know some of our officers and they are great, but this time this officer was in the wrong and I’m glad something was done.

    • injustice

      Shultz was a part time officer who worked over at the school. He is not in the middle east. Grueling? Give me a break that’s what we have full time officers for.

  • Concerned citizen

    Officer Schulze is a good person with a great family and a beautiful 4 year old son. Frank wanted nothing more than to be an officer and protect his community and his family and friends. Nobody could have predicted the unfortunate events of that evening. What people fail to realize is that even though you’re not on duty you’re still an officer of the law. That man ran away from Frank knowing that he was an officer. That man also had an enormous criminal record while Frank never had a single blemish on his record. I can’t even imagine his poor son growing up with his father in jail for something he doesn’t deserve to be there for.

    • Injustice

      And Joey never touched a hair on the officers head. Joey was unarmed. The DA has more footage from a second camera that isn’t public. It was for a few hours but it was taken down for the family and not to hinder the case. He did it. And that makes him a cold blooded murderer. Let’s pull everyone’s skeletons out of the closet and see how many of you people should be in jail but just haven’t got caught.

  • Concerned citizen 570

    So police officers can’t do the job they are sworn into do. So someone with a lengthly criminal record is held to a higher standard in our society than a police officer with a fantastic record? in what world does that make sense. some of these comments really disgust me. so lets go ahead and criticize the police and an officer because of what you saw on social media or because its the “cool” thing to do. To those people when you need a cop, I hope one doesn’t show even though they will because its their job. to the DA, Shame on you sir. you should stand behind your law officers, not against them.

    • Tim

      Are you implying that if there’s a possibility that an officer does wrong, he/she shouldn’t be held accountable?

      The man’s criminal record and the officers perfect one play no role in this situation. The DA’S job is to pursue crime and seek justice, NOT selectively dole out justice and protect certain individuals just because they happen to be employed in law enforcement.

  • Tim Tudwell

    DA is a joke. Since when is a police officer defending his life a crime? I’m disgusted by this. the anti-sop society that the world is in now is pitiful. Defending your life is not a crime. Can’t wait till the facts come out and people see the real story. Prayers are with the officer and his family.

    • BZ22

      Was he in uniform, on the clock being paid, carrying his badge and weapon, calling for backup OR was he John Q. Citizen pursuing someone because he was upset and got carried away?

  • Mike M.

    The DA clearly has no clue what he is doing! Just like charging those kids the way he did. If Scranton pd didn’t add involuntary manslaughter those kids wouldn’t end up getting charged with anything. Sane case here, the DA is trying to look like he knows what he is doing. Clearly the wrong person for the job!

  • Joe Donut

    This is a simple self defense case. The problem is this small area lacks any real knowledge on law. You will all see the outcome and will hide in the shadows when you look like morons talking about stuff you never cared to actually learn!

    • Injustice

      And you are simply delusional. He is being charged for the crime. He continued to follow Joey after Joey put his hands up in the video showing he was unarmed. Joey walked away. Shultz chose to follow and to kill. You blind while watching the video?

  • Rebecca Kroll

    I’d like to know what the official charges are too. I’d also like to know the full story of what really happened. The video showed at that one time – the officer pointing the gun at the guy. We don’t know other than what some reports will tell us – like the girlfriend talks about her and her boyfriend were walking to a friend’s house, they were loud and the cop was angry for some reason and walked behind Joe. Bits and pieces of the story – whether true or not true – I’d like to know everything. If the cop turned himself in, obviously he’s guilty for something. I personally didn’t know Joe other than seeing him around – but I do know he seemed to be a nice guy. I’m not saying all cops are evil. Here in Carbondale, there are a lot of good cops. I guess some are too good for the badge, like in this case. Now that Schulze has been charged, and turned himself in, I hope that no one will criticize the other police officers. They’re the ones that weren’t involved, and they’re doing the best they can protecting this town. I don’t support Schulze at all – I support Joey. But I won’t turn my back on the the force, not when I know personally a lot are great cops. Let’s just hope Justice will be served, and the full story will be told. Video or not.

      • Rebecca Kroll

        Do we have any proof Joe beat his girlfriend? Nothing was said in any news report or official statements…I understand he turned himself in – and I understand the cop did the wrong. I just said that basically if he’s guilty – there must a reason why he did shoot the guy. I am pretty sure he had no choice but to turn himself in not because of guilt, but because he had to. And for the record BOT – I was in a horrific abusive marriage – so to ask me a question like that is an attack on my personal life. I was able to escape the abuse, and that’s done and over with. If there was abuse going on – don’t you think we would’ve heard it by a reliable source by now?

    • Megan

      You do realize that he HAD to turn himself in, right? It wasn’t a guilty conscious that led him to do it, it’s the law.

    • Tessa

      I might be wrong here but I’m pretty sure he really didn’t have a choice but to turn himself in, either he did that or they’d come get him!!! So I don’t see this as an admission of some kind of wrong doing but as the only option he had, that or make things a whole lot worse for himself.

    • John Bagel

      He didn’t turn himself in out of guilt but to hear the DA’s charges and continue to cooperate with the process that is legally mandatory.

  • BZ22

    Badge + gun = testosterone overload for too many of these guys. What makes them think they’re above the law or it doesn’t apply to them any longer? Something missing in their training?

    • Condor

      You’re an idiot. This is the first time this has happened in this area in a very long time, if ever. It’s people like you with statements like this that stirs up more problems and mistrust. This was one inexperienced officer who made wrong decision and is now going to pay for it. No conspiracies, no cover ups and it’s not most cops.

      • Injustice

        Are you saying that around every leap year the community wear bullet proof jackets just in case some derange egotistical Officer wants to go on a shooting spree? And there are two sets of video. The longer version was taken down out of respect for the family.

    • JImmyG

      You are exactly right. The issue is that most of these cops do not have military training. They sit for a class at LJC and think that qualifies them, it does not. All police officers should be required to serve two years minimum so that they have the military disciple and the self control to know how to do their jobs.

  • I Am The Antipope

    I wonder if the former state trooper who shot those 2 people earlier this week infulenced their decision.

    Maybe they are starting to realise that cops are capable of criminally killing people.

Comments are closed.

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