The New York City Department of Environmental Protection worker accused of second-degree murder in the shooting death of his coworker is due in Ulster County Court Friday, Feb. 7.
David N. Reese, 53, of Gilboa was arrested without incident at the scene of the Monday morning shooting. Police were called to the DEP headquarters at 71 Smith Ave. for a report of shots fired at 6:46 a.m. Monday. Upon arrival, they discovered Aron J. Thomas of Olivebridge, a 33-year-old father of two, dead of a gunshot wound in a large office in the building.
A handgun believed to be the murder weapon was recovered at the scene. Later that day, he was formally charged with second-degree murder. By 4:30 p.m., Reese had been arraigned in Kingston City Court and sent to the Ulster County Jail without bail. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing, where he will have an opportunity to make a bail application, on Friday.
Two days after the shooting, authorities were tight-lipped about the circumstances. District Attorney Holley Carnright said that he was awaiting forensic test results and a formal presentation of the case to a grand jury before releasing further information. Carnright declined to comment on the origin of the handgun allegedly used in the shooting. He did say that neither Reese nor Thomas was authorized to carry a firearm as part of their jobs.
Thomas had been employed by the DEP for about nine years as a watershed maintainer. According to DEP spokesman Adam Bosch, Thomas’ job involved performing routine maintenance and repair tasks on DEP infrastructure, including the Ashokan reservoir. Reese had worked for the agency since 1998 and held the title stationary engineer. Bosch said that Reese’s work involved repair and maintenance of electrical, ventilation and other systems at DEP facilities. According to the open-government website seethroughnewyork.net, Reese — who requested and received representation by the Ulster County Public Defender’s Office at his arraignment — was paid $174,219 by the New York City agency in 2011. According to Carnright, the men did not work together directly, but shared space in a large office area at the Smith Avenue headquarters.
Thomas is an Olivebridge native who leaves behind a wife and two sons, ages 2 and just six weeks. He was an active member of the Olivebridge Fire Company and rescue squad. Friends recall an avid outdoorsman who was dedicated to his young family and his community.
“He was a great guy,” said Olive Town Supervisor Sylvia Rozzelle, who as town clerk issued Thomas fishing and hunting licenses as a boy and later, his marriage license. “He was a fine person, he was respected.”