Police in gunfight, injured suspect in critical condition

New Paltz and State Police officers blocked off traffic after a gunman barricaded himself in a house. He was later shot by a New Paltz Police officer and flown to a local hospital where he remains in critical condition. (David Warg/Owl Ridge Studios)

New Paltz and State Police officers blocked off traffic after a gunman barricaded himself in a house. He was later shot by a New Paltz Police officer and flown to a local hospital where he remains in critical condition. (David Warg/Owl Ridge Studios)

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A Medivac helicopter was stationed on the athletic fields at New Paltz High School, which was later used to fly the alleged shooter to an area hospital. (photo by Terence P Ward)

Roads were closed and tensions high in southern New Paltz last Saturday, as police from around the area converged on a location on Route 32 South where shots had been fired at — and returned by — New Paltz officers. Route 32 was closed from Wright’s Farm to the intersection with Brookside Road, which was also blocked off, from around 3 in the morning until 6 that evening. According to Lieutenant Robert Lucchesi of the New Paltz Police, they originally responded “following up on an earlier domestic complaint” to a complex of buildings which has been identified as 232, 234 and 236 Route 32 South.

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In his initial statement, Lucchesi described the beginning of the encounter. “When officers arrived, the male resident fired a gunshot round from a high-powered rifle. Officers were able to take cover and attempted to negotiate with him. During this time, several more rounds were fired at officers striking several New Paltz Police and Ulster County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicles, which were being used for cover by officers. During this time an officer returned fire.” The officer has been since identified as a member of the New Paltz force, but no name is being released during the investigation. Negotiators were unsuccessful in making contact with the man, and later found out why: “Police eventually made entry finding the subject unconscious with a gunshot wound.”

Ralph Ioanna, whose mother owns the property in question, was in contact with the New Paltz Times via text message during part of the police action. He reported that the focus was on a unit occupied by two brothers, but as he was not on site at the time, could not confirm whether either man was involved in the standoff. The unidentified 60-year-old man was transported to an area hospital, where he remains in critical but stable condition as of Monday. No charges have been filed.

The New Paltz Police Department was assisted by the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, Lloyd Police Department, Town of Newburgh Tactical Unit, Plattekill Police Department and the SUNY New Paltz Police Department — whose cars jammed the lot of Copeland Funeral Home, which was turned into a command center while the New Paltz Rescue Squad and New Paltz Fire Department remained on standby at the high school. On the athletic fields State troopers were stationed by a Medivac helicopter not far from where children practiced soccer until the chopper was needed to transport the injured man.

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