Flags around the township are flying at half-mast in honor of an Upper Southampton police officer found dead early Friday morning.
Just after 8:30 a.m., Officer Richard Lizzio, a 24-year veteran of the Upper Southampton police force was found in his patrol car, which was parked at the .
Upper Southampton Chief of Police Ron MacPherson said Ofc. Lizzio was a firearms instructor for the department as well as an officer in charge, a position that often required him to substitute for an off-duty sergeant.
“He was a valuable member of our team,” said MacPherson. “He will be sorely missed.”
Lizzio was on duty at the time of the incident, but was not answering a call at the church.
MacPherson said Lizzio was found in his uniform, sitting in his squad car by workers conducting maintenance on the church grounds.
“They saw him, saw that he was shot and called for help,” he said.
MacPherson said Ivyland Borough Police Chief Nicholas Rosato was out in the street directing traffic around the area of the incident when he suffered a heart attack.
“Thankfully other officers were around him and able to put the AED on him and shock him,” said Mac Pherson. “They stabilized him before they took out to St. Mary’s.”
According to a spokesperson at St. Mary’s Medical Center, Rosato remains in the hospital in stable condition as of Friday evening.
Township offices and the police department closed early Friday, as officers and staff were offered counseling services.
"The township has taken this very hard," said Upper Southampton Board of Supervisors Chairman Lola Biuckians. "My heart goes out to him and his family."
Prior to his 24 years of service for Upper Southampton Township, Lizzio was an officer for Jenkintown Borough.
Surrounding departments will continue to assist with police coverage of Upper Southampton Township through the weekend.