Arrest made in New Paltz fatal shooting

Police block the door of Murphy's bar in New Paltz early Easter morning after a shooting. Ryan Gray, 29, died and a second victim is in the hospital. (Photo by Daniel Kolpin)

Police block the door of Murphy’s bar in New Paltz early Easter morning after a shooting. Ryan Gray, 29, died and a second victim is in the hospital. (Photos by Daniel Kolpin)

Police released this statement on April 20 regarding the Easter morning murder in New Paltz.

The New Paltz Police Department is investigating a homicide that occurred shortly before 2 a.m. this morning, April 20, 2014.


Officers on patrol observed a disturbance in front of Murphy’s Restaurant & Pub and upon investigation learned two people were shot while inside the bar. Both victims were transported to a local hospital where one of the victims was pronounced dead.

The investigation is continuing and police ask anyone with information regarding this incident to contact the New Paltz Police Detective Division at (845) 255-1323. All information will be kept confidential.

The New Paltz Police Department is being assisted by the New York State Police, Ulster County Sheriff’s Office, SUNY New Paltz Police Department and the Ulster County District Attorney’s office.


UPDATE: Police have identified the man killed during the Easter morning shooting at Murphy’s as Ryan Gray, 29, of Poughkeepsie. The investigation is still ongoing, and the shooter remains at large.

The second shooting victim remains at the hospital, but that person is in stable condition, New Paltz police added.

“This is a tragic event” Chief Joseph Snyder said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families affected by this terrible act.”

Kenneth Verney, the owner of Murphy’s Restaurant & Pub, also released a statement on the shooting. He declined to talk about specifics of the shooting, but expressed sympathy to the victims’ families.

“The management and staff of Murphy’s Restaurant & Pub are shocked and saddened by the events that took place in the early morning hours of Sunday, April 20,” Verney said. “We express our heartfelt sympathy and extend our deepest condolences to the families that were affected by this tragic incident. We will continue to fully cooperate with the local and state agencies investigating this incident. Out of respect for the ongoing investigation, we will have no additional comments at this time.”


UPDATE: New Paltz police now say the shooting seems to involve people who knew each other. They also released limited information about the second victim, a 26-year-old woman.

Chief Snyder said the NPPD believes the conflict began in Poughkeepsie, and that both Ryan Gray, the man who died in the shooting, and the young woman knew the shooter. This wasn’t an incident with an active shooter or a random act of violence.

“We believe that the victims and perpetrator were known to each other. This incident is a spillover from some incidents in the City of Poughkeepsie,” the chief said. “We also know that this incident did not take place due to an over-crowed bar, filled with intoxicated people that began to fight and resulted in this shooting incident.”

No arrest has been made and the investigation continues.

So far police have not identified the second shooting victim, that 26-year-old woman. Although she remains in stable condition at the hospital.


UPDATE: New Paltz police and Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright announced April 23 that an arrest has been made in connection to Easter’s fatal shooting at Murphy’s Restaurant & Pub in New Paltz.

Basheem D. Bennett, 21, of Poughkeepsie, was arrested at 5:09 p.m. on April 22 in connection with the murder. Bennett was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault, both are felonies.

Police also confirmed that a single shooter was responsible for the event. Bennett is charged for the murder of Ryan Gray and the shooting of the still unidentified 26-year-old female shooting victim.

Chief Snyder added that the NPPD does not typically release the names of victims of violent crime, unless they are deceased — which is why the woman’s name wasn’t released. She’s in the hospital, but in stable condition.

Carnright stated that Gray and the woman were out on a date at Murphy’s when the shooting occurred. He described Ryan an “unarmed man” who was “gunned down” while at the bar.

Police also said that Gray died likely in retaliation to the murder Alvin Hayles, a 23-year-old man killed in November 2013 in Poughkeepsie. They did not release more details of the connection between the Hayles murder and Gray’s death.

New Paltz police still say they’ll keep the (845) 255-1323 tip line open. People who have information about the Easter morning shooting are encouraged to call.

There are 30 comments

    1. Frank

      We had a battalion of officers available from everywhere and there were still two people shot. What’s your point?

      1. Max

        Battalions is an understatement. Drive through New Paltz after 11:00pm and try to not get pulled over. They act like everyone is a criminal.

    1. Frederick

      you serious ? a handgun isn’t much larger than some on the new smartphones these days and they do not search people entering. bringin a gun in undetected is easier than getting in with a fake

    2. Danielle

      I love that the initial reaction is to sue people. There is already to much of that in this world. It causes more problems than anything. No one is being frisked at Murphy’s (although apparently now they should be since there are so many idiots out there). Get a grip and know that all the idiots in the world can not be stopped. I in no way condone what happened, but its not Murphy’s fault, its the idiot with the gun.

  1. SUNY New Paltz Student

    Lawsuit of the club seems EXCESSIVE. Absolutely a tragedy but we can do way more to make change on this planet than shut down a local pub. People will have guns regardless so we need STEP UP and make sure this nonsense doesn’t happen. In a college town EDUCATION should be key.
    Peace out

  2. Local

    There is no reason to shut down a local pub. We do need to do more to protect ourselves against this type of crime however suing Murphy’s or shutting it down it’s ridiculous. Murphy’s is run by locals and has been a part of New Paltz for such a long time. There is no need to take your anger out on them. The altercation began in another bar, are you going to shut down every place that has a bar fight for fear that it will escalate? This is a horrible incident and I feel for the families that are suffering. I just hope we take action of the person or people who are actually responsible, instead of throwing blame on anyone just because.


    New Paltz police should step it up since there have been a lot of incidents over the past few months that are going unnoticed

  4. local

    New Paltz police needs to stop focusing on busting kids for minor offenses and start re-prioritazing, Ive gotten pulled over for the past 3 weekends yet this shorter was not caught.


    New paltz cops literally sleep next to the bar, at times as much as 4-6 deep
    Need to be on point and stop worrying about pulling people over all the time.
    They need more cops on beat during bar hours. Also, what happened to security pat checks
    By the guards , he probably had a stamp but you should be repatted if you come back in.


    I was there, I walked past murphys abotu 2 minutes before the shots rang out. I stayed around since I watched the guy run. About 6 minutes after the shots are when the first officers arrived. I thought this was interesting since I had just meet 4 officers on foot about a minute down the road, they seemed pretty comfortable letting all the college kids know how bad ass they were.
    Then the cops arived, they parked cris cross along the road from the intersection by chase till the Citco gas station. They were so unorganized I watched the dead guys sister get threatened with arrest if she didn’t calm down. What didnt make that beter was that the responding ambulance sat at the top of the road for about 20 minutes until the cops had enough with bullying people out of a 100ft distance of the place. The victims sister ran into the street and pounded on the hood of the car asking the police to move it so the ambulance could get through. It was chaos.
    Then they rounded up all the witnesses, Except, they didn’t tell the regular officers who the witnesses were. So got yelled about 10 times and threatened with arrest because we were apparently interfering with an investigation. Anyways.
    The Police need to drop some of these power hungery cops who dont know anything and train the guys that actually know what their doing.

    1. Silence Dogood

      I agree- The most action these cops see are pot possession. They’ve gone soft when actual legitimate issues come around. They should probably be sent back to the police academy to learn how to do their jobs. Disgusting.

    2. Joanne

      Wow – if you are telling the truth (not that I don’t think you are)…this is ridiculously scary!!! I so feel for the sister and the whole town!

  7. Used to live in NP

    If someone had told me that one of the NP bars was the site of a fatal shooting, I’d have guessed Murphy’s without hesitation. That place has seen more violent fights over the years than any Lower East Side bar I hung around as a young man. The gun part is a bit surprising, but that’s not the first time someone’s been shot right on Main Street. In the 90’s a fistfight turned into a gunfight right in front of 188 Main (the convenient deli). A young man was shot in the leg. The type of meathead that Murphy’s has attracted in my experience has always been the type that overreacts to insignificant crap that the thinking person would never let bother them. If it is discovered that the fight in the bar was over a girl or something like that, I will not be shocked at all. I would walk home to my apartment on that street and be shouted at by the thugs outside just for looking over to see what was going on. And I didn’t stand out in any way. Random aggression from the button-down suburban kids; the seemingly “normal” segment of society.

  8. Susan

    I think we have a bigger problem in New Paltz than most people thought. This is very distressing news. I heard this was a gang related crime and the victim was killed in a hit. This was a deliberate and organized killing.
    It wouldn’t surprise me that the cops have no idea how to handle this.

    You can’t just say this isn’t bad because no college students or residents were victims. They could easily have been shot in the bar.

    This is a failure of security and I do feel the bar has some responsibility for the safety of it’s patrons.

  9. Glen Sharpe

    Shooter is the Bad Guy…Not Murphy’s (Seriously) WTF? Murder illegal, gun in bar Illegal, shooting in a bar illegal, SAFE ACT is a Total Joke, but it didn’t matter here one way or another.Cops nearly always arrive well after the incident.

  10. beeman

    Time to kept outsiders out of our town, no more Kingston and Poughkeepsie scum in our town. On 2/14 there was a bar brawl and an a assault on two females on main street, both girls were sent to the hospital. All done by Boyz from the hood

    1. Zahra

      Hi beeman. Ryan’s sister here. My family isn’t scum. We were out enjoying ourselves because one year ago before Easter my father died as well. We were minding our own business. My brother was dancing with his girlfriend. We did NOTHING wrong. So before you open your mouth how about you think a little. I watched my brother get murdered in front of my eyes. I could have easily been shot too I was right next to him. So please how would you feel if you watched your brother or sister get myrdered and then saw people talking shit! Please find Jesus because this could’ve happened to anyone. It’s not just because we are from poughkeepsie.

  11. Tired of peoples bitching

    I love how everyone is trash talking the police. First off, the cops were there within a minute of the shooting, I know because I was there. Second, I’m sure this was planned so of couse the guy got away and was able to enjoy a few more days of freedom. I would love to see how some of you people would handle it in you were in their shoes. About 60 people cleared out because of gun shots and we are going to talk shit about the few cops that ran in because they didn’t catch the guy. Time to face the facts, this is the world we live in. More cops on the street isn’t going to stop this.

    1. Zahra

      I am Ryan’s sister and I was there and WATCHED my brother get MURDERED in front of me. Those cops did absolutely NOTHING to help my brother. Idc that they didn’t catch the guy right away. They blocked the roads and did not let the ambulance come down! And when my brothers girlfriend who was also shot asked them to put some pressure on my brother wounds one of them said “why don’t you do it yourself” mind you SHE WAS SHOT TOO. New paltz has a horrible police department and they don’t know how to handle REAL crime.

  12. India

    It’s time to stop pointing fingers and come together as a community in order to heal and find a way to get through this.

  13. Uninterested

    This is just another place for people with little to no information to simply state their beliefs regardless of facts. I would love to read intellectual or reasoned comments but there never are any. Accept for the entertainment value of reading comments from people who have no clue I cannot understand the reason for this section these kind of web paper.

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