A judge on Thursday ordered a Burlington County man to remain in custody pending his trial on murder and related charges in last month’s shooting death of a Mount Laurel medical-office employee and the wounding of a patient.
After an hour-long virtual hearing, Superior Court Judge Mark Tarantino ruled that Bruce Gomola Jr., 52, of Burlington Township, poses a danger to the community.
“These were unpredictable, volatile, deadly actions, with little or no provocation or reason, and ... could easily reoccur,” the judge said.
The early afternoon July 24 shooting at New Jersey Urology, 15000 Midlantic Drive, occurred after police say Gomola became upset about an appointment for his father, who was in their SUV at the time of the shooting. Gomola, off-duty from his job as a corrections officer at the Burlington County Jail, was seen in video arguing with a patient services representative, Stephanie Horton, in the hallway outside of the clinic’s suite, then pushing her, authorities said.
Prosecutors say he then shot her in the chest with a .40-caliber pistol. The bullet went through her body and struck another patient in a knee. Horton, 44, of Willingboro, died that afternoon.
Burlington County Assistant Prosecutor Jamie Hutchinson argued for detention, calling the shooting “cold-blooded murder.”
She also said that although Gomola returned to the scene and surrendered to police that day, he initially drove away and returned at his father’s request.
Defense attorney Mark Catanzaro contended that Gomola has stable family ties, is not a flight risk, has no prior criminal history and could be released with conditions, such as electronic monitoring. He said it is “utterly speculative” to suggest that Gomola might hurt someone else.