Ulster County man guilty on burglary charges, acquitted of attempted murder of police officer

Yesterday a jury found Joshua Stuart, 42, of Kerhonkson, guilty on a number of charges in connection with a series of violent crimes that took place in the town of Wawarsing last September.

According the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office, on Friday morning, September 28, at around 4 a.m., Stuart entered the Ellenville Regional Hospital armed with a loaded nine-millimeter handgun and demanded the drugs Dilaudid and Demarol, both opioids. After hospital employees resisted, Stuart fired the weapon into a glass dispensary and stole 18 glass vials of Dilaudid and syringes and fled the scene.

An intense manhunt ensued in which nearly all local law enforcement agencies devoted personnel and resources to assist.

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Within an hour Stuart was spotted in a wooded area near Cutler Road in Wawarsing by police officers from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. Ordered to show his hands, Stuart fired at least four shots at Officer Zachary Petrowsky. Petrowsky’s partner, DEP Officer Megan Whelan, returned fire and Stuart fled into the woods on foot.

The following day Stuart broke into a residence on State Route 55 near the wooded area where he was last seen.  A magazine from a handgun was found and tested for DNA confirming Stuart had been in the residence.

On Sunday morning, September 30, Stuart committed two more burglaries and stole a 2005 Honda Pilot which he drove to New York City.

On Monday, October 1, Stuart was arrested by members of the US Marshalls Violent Felony Fugitive Task Force after robbing a coffee shop in Brooklyn and attempting to escape by diving into the Gowanus Canal.  Stuart was in possession of the handgun used in the robbery and police shooting at the time of his arrest.

Yesterday he was found guilty of the crimes of first-degree robbery (two counts), first-degree burglary, second-degree burglary and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Stuart was acquitted of one count of attempted murder of a police officer.

District Attorney Holley Carnright stated, “The officers involved in this shooting should be commended for their bravery. DEP Officer Megan Whelan had been working as a police officer on patrol for only three months at the time of this shooting and we believe she saved her partner’s life by returning fire at Stuart.”

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Gerard VanLoan and Assistant District Attorney Timothy Lawson.  The defendant was represented by Russell Schindler of the Ulster County Public Defender’s Office.

Stuart is scheduled to be sentenced in Ulster County Court on November 14.

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