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.