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Police Officer Suspected in Bomb Killing of Undercover Detective

February 21, 1990

MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) _ The bomb slaying of an undercover narcotics detective may be the result of a love triangle, not a revenge bombing by drug dealers as was first suspected, according to a police source.

A Nassau police spokesman confirmed today that Nassau County Police Officer Robert Horan is a suspect, although no arrest has been made in the slaying.

A second source, also involved in the investigation and who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said Tuesday that the victim, Suffolk County Police Officer Dennis Wustenhoff, 41, allegedly was involved with Horan’s wife, a federal Drug Enforcement Administration employee.

Wustenhoff was killed Thursday when a bomb exploded seconds after he got into an undercover police car parked in front of his home in Patchogue on New York’s Long Island.

Police at first thought drug dealers may have planted the bomb to frustrate a current investigation or avenge one of Wustenhoff’s previous cases.

The disclosure of the possible love triangle motive surfaced Tuesday, a day after Wustenhoff was given a hero’s farewell in a funeral attended by more than 5,000 officers from 50 police departments across the nation.

Spokesmen for the Suffolk County police and Suffolk County District Attorney James Catterson refused to comment.

″We are not going to give a progress report at this time,″ said William McKean, a Suffolk County police spokesman.

Horan’s name was confirmed by Nassau police spokesman William Bendel. Horan, a 20-year veteran, was assigned to Emergency Services Bureau for Nassau County, where officers receive bomb detonation and explosives training.

Police interviewed Horan on Tuesday in Cooperstown, N.Y., where the officer recently bought a vacation home, the police source said.

Suffolk police obtained a search warrant and used two bomb-sniffing dogs to search Horan’s Long Island home Tuesday, said Kevin Cronin, a homicide detective who supervised the search.

Wustenhoff’s wife, a 14-year-old son and 10- and 12-year-old daughters have been in hiding since the bombing because of speculation it had been revenge.

Update hourly