A Kingston man with a long rap sheet for drug crimes is facing felony charges after he allegedly fired several shots on a downtown street Tuesday morning.
Kevin Greene, 33, of West Pierpont Street was arrested and charged with felony counts of first-degree reckless endangerment and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
Witnesses say the gunplay erupted near the intersection of Hone and West Pierpont streets around 10 a.m. One resident of the street said the first shots were fired at 10:02 a.m., followed by a second round of shots five minutes later.
Members of the Kingston Police Department’s Patrol Division and Special Investigations Unit responded to the scene. According to KPD Detective Sgt. Brian Robertson, by the time cops arrived, Greene and three other men involved in the dispute had retreated into separate houses. Police also recovered a 9mm handgun on the street. After all four men responded to police calls to come out and were taken into custody, Robertson said he called for backup from the countywide emergency response team and other police agencies. Robertson said the call for tactical support came out of an abundance of caution and concern that others involved in the incident might be hiding out in one of three houses where suspects were detained.
“We weren’t getting great answers [from the men detained] so we called in the tac guys,” said Robertson. “We wanted to safely clear those houses with more manpower.”
By 11:15 a.m. the SWAT team had established a cordon around a triangular block bounded by McEntee, West Pierpont and Hone streets. Around the same time a young male was taken in handcuffs from a SWAT team vehicle and placed in a KPD patrol car. Over the next two hours, heavily armed and armored ERT members methodically cleared houses and yards searching for additional suspects. Inside the cordon Kingston Police Detectives probed possible bullet holes in 101 and 96 Hone. At the corner of West Pierpont and Hone, KPD school resource officer Harry Woltman worked to calm an increasingly impatient crowd of residents seeking to return to their homes. At one point during the police operation, Woltman directed a woman to call two school-age girls inside one of the houses so he could give them directions on how to deal with a SWAT team about to enter the home. At another, Woltman helped arrange for an autistic child who lives on the block to be dropped off a short distance away from the chaotic scene and escorted home.
Among the crowd gathered at the scene, speculation about the source and motive. By 1:30 p.m., the last house on the block had been cleared and detectives were beginning to process the crime scene and interview witnesses.
Robertson said all of the men involved in the dispute either lived or had family ties in the neighborhood and all four men knew each other. Robertson added that exact motive for the shooting remained unclear, but that Greene and the men he fired at were involved in an ongoing feud. Cops believe Greene spotted his rivals on the street and began firing. State records show that Greene was released from state prison in February 2017 after serving 18 months for criminal sale of a controlled substance. The records show he had served two previous prison terms, dating back to 2003 for drug crimes.
Greene was arraigned in Kingston City Court and sent to the Ulster County Jail without bail. Kingston police say the investigation is ongoing and more charges may be filed. City police were assisted at the scene by the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office, the New York State Police, the Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team, Town of Ulster Police and the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office.