An off-duty Rome police officer shot and killed a man with a history of disputes at an AT&T wireless phone store in New York Mills after the angry customer shot a male store clerk.
The situation in the store on Commercial Drive unfolded quickly. 25-year-old Officer Donald Moore was at the store as a customer when the man with the gun, 79-year-old Abraham Dickan, shot clerk Seth Turk. A few seconds later Moore pulled a pistol and killed Dickan. At least two other people were in the store in addition to those involved in the shooting.
Rome Public Safety Commissioner James Masucci talked to Moore, a two and a half year veteran of the Rome Police Department, at the scene of the shooting. "He's kind of tight, right now, shocked." said Masucci. "Everybody's happy he was in there and he was carrying." Masucci described Moore as a good man.
Rome Police Chief Kevin Beach echoed Masucci's sentiments, saying "There was a list of six individuals that this person intended to kill today. Officer Moore, because of his action, saved at least six lives."
Dickan is said to have been carrying a note in his pocket listing the names of six store employees whom he apparently intended to shoot Thursday afternoon.
According to the Associated Press, a store employee told the Utica Observer-Dispatch that the gunman was a customer who had been banned from the store about a month ago for being disruptive. Dickan had also been reported to police, and had lost his pistol permit as a result.
Commissioner Masucci does not yet know whether Moore was using a department issued weapon or his own handgun. Department policy does allow an officer the option of carrying his weapon when he is off duty.
After the shootings, Moore was debriefed by New York State Police. The Oneida County District Attorney's Office is investigating whether the shooting was justifiable. The Rome Police Department is following protocol for officer involved shootings and has removed Officer Moore from duty with pay until he is cleared and ready to return. The Rome Police Benevolent Association is also offering support to the officer.
37-year-old Seth Turk was taken to St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Utica where he underwent surgery for serious injuries as a result of the shooting.