Crime & Courts

Mother and child hid in closet with gun as SC police officer broke in, warrant says

A woman told Nicholas Morella she would call police if he came to her home, according to a warrant. When he showed up, she called the department he works for.

Morella is an officer with the Summerville Police Department. He’s now on unpaid administrative leave, the department said, after breaking into the home of a woman around 3 a.m. Friday.

An arrest warrant says that Morella contacted the woman numerous times but she initially didn’t respond. When she did, Morella asked the woman for a door code. She told him to stay away from her house.

“The victim advised the defendant if he came over, she would contact the police,” the warrant says. He didn’t listen, it says, and went to the woman’s home where he “broke into the residence.”

The woman took her child and hid in a closet as she clutched a gun, waiting for police to arrive, according to the warrant. Morella was inside the home when police showed up.

Police saw damage on a back door and heard multiple voice mails, the warrant says.

The Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office charged Morella with burglary. He was booked at the county jail. A magistrate denied Morella bond on Saturday, the sheriff’s office said.

Morella will have another bond hearing in General Session Court in Calhoun County on Mar. 25.

On Mar. 12 Summerville Police Department posted that Morella was promoted from sergeant to lieutenant and would be leading a uniform patrol unit.

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David Travis Bland won the South Carolina Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. As The State’s crime, police and public safety reporter, he strives to inform communities about crimes that affect them and give deeper insight into victims, the accused and law enforcement. He studied history with a focus on the American South at the University of South Carolina.