Arson, murder suspect in Le Roy reportedly taunted police before surrendering
|Based on information obtained from sources, we believe the suspect is in this photo, standing near the front of the Sheriff's patrol vehicle with the lights on. The photo was taken at 7:09 a.m. with a 300mm lens and has been enlarged substantially for publication. We were told the suspect wandered around the area of the roadway and his home while officers tried to talk him into surrendering. Shortly after this photo was taken, SWAT teams arrived. The suspect surrendered at about 8:10 a.m., we are told.|
A Selden Road resident who is suspected of murdering a neighbor early this morning in Le Roy and setting his own home ablaze was taunting the police once they arrived on scene, according to a witness.
"Did you see what I did to my house?" the witness said the man told police. "Just shoot me."
Sheriff's deputies and Village of Le Roy police, along with Mercy EMS, were dispatched to 7421 Selden Road just after 4 a.m. after dispatchers received a report of a person being shot in the face. About 10 minutes later, Le Roy fire along with the Bergen Fire Department were dispatched to 7324 Selden Road for a structure fire with flames showing. Shortly thereafter, Stafford and Pavillion fire departments were called to provide mutual aid.
At first, there was no indication the two incidents were related, but when the first assistant chief for Le Roy fire, accompanied by the department's safety officer and a chief from a mutual aid company arrived on scene, along with a patrol from Le Roy, the suspect reportedly turned his shotgun on the responders and opened fire.
None of the responders were hit and they made a quick exit from the area, with the chief informing dispatchers they had been fired on and to hold back all responding units.
The chief was pretty shaken and returned to the fire hall a short time later, said 2nd Assistant Chief Tom Wood.
"We actually never got told there were any shots fired or the second incident was happening, so we responded as a normal incident," Wood said.
It's unclear if the suspect, whose name has not yet been released, was firing indiscriminately or deliberately targeting either firefighters or police.
Wood said it appeared to the firefighters the gun was pointed at them.
"When they got on scene they saw the individual and he pointed the gun in their direction, or the direction of the police, and, I believe, fired two or three rounds at them," Wood said. "Nobody was hit, but it was definitely scary."
It was a tense time for Jon Marcello and his family, who moved from the village to Selden Road in July. He said he spoke to his neighbor, the suspect, for the first time a couple of weeks ago. The suspect, he said, placed a no trespassing sign in his front yard because he was going through a divorce and he didn't know who his ex-wife might had given keys to.
"He was concerned about other people coming into the house and on the property," Marcello said.
When Marcello saw a fire burning outside this neighbor's house, he went outside to investigate. He then heard two gunshots. A police officer told him to get back in his house. He said he and his wife and his two small children, who are too young to have comprehended what was going on, sheltered upstairs.
"It's certainly concerning when you see him walking down the street and on our property with a shotgun, SWAT teams all around telling him to put the gun down and he wasn't complying," Marcello said. "He was actually taunting them telling them to shoot him. I don't know if it was a suicide mission, or what."
The suspect surrendered about 8:10 a.m.
The name of the victim has not yet been officially released.
No other injuries have been reported in connection with the incident.
The incident was troubling for the volunteers who responded to the scene, Wood said. Even though nobody has forgotten what happened in Webster, where firefighters were shot and killed responding to a fire, on Christmas Eve a couple of years ago, it's still not something you expect to happen here. Wood said he doesn't know how you prepare or train for such unexpected violence.
"It's scary," Wood said. "We don't know how to deal with stuff like this. We're a small rural department and all volunteer."
The Sheriff's Office has scheduled a press conference at 2 p.m. about the incident.
The residence of the shooting victim.
Tom Wood speaking with members of the media.