An Oneida County Sheriff's Deputy has died from wounds suffered overnight during a standoff with an armed man in the hamlet of Knoxboro, about 30 miles southeast of Syracuse.
Deputy Kurt Wyman died after being rushed to a Utica hospital following the shootout around 2:00 a.m. Tuesday inside a garage, the Oneida County Sheriff's Department told WKTV-TV and the Observer-Dispatch.
The 24-year-old deputy, whose wife is pregnant with their second child, was fatally shot during a gun battle following a six-hour standoff at a house at 5488 Knoxboro Road in the Town of Augusta, which began just after 8:00 p.m. The suspect, 41-year-old Chris Patterson, was shot several times by police and at last report is in critical condition at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica.
Police say Patterson threatened to harm himself and his live-in girlfriend with a shotgun before firing on police and hitting Wyman. The girlfriend made it out of the house safely after the shooting and was helped by a neighbor.
Sheriff's spokesman Lt. James McCarthy told the Utica Observer-Dispatch that Deputy Wyman died from a single gunshot wound.
McCarthy said Wyman was a member of the sheriff's department since October 2007. Police say he was a two-time recipient of the sheriff TMs Grand Cordon Medal and received the department's rookie of the year award in 2010. He had also served as a corporal with the Marine Corps Reserves in Iraq. McCarthy said Wyman and his wife have an 18-month-old child, and she went into labor with their second child after hearing the news of her husband's shooting.
At a news conference Tuesday morning, Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol called Wyman an exceptional public servant sho served his country, and his county, with pride.
Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente echoed Maciol's comments, adding this is a sad and tragic day for the entire Oneida County community. Picente said this is the third police officer death in the past five years in the county, following the deaths of New Hartford officer Joseph Corr and Utica officer Thomas Lindsey.
Officials would not comment on details of the incident, citing an active investigation. They did say that Patterson will be charged with felony aggravated murder when he has sufficiently recovered from his injuries. If convicted, that charge carries a possible sentence of life in prison without parole.
On their Facebook page , Utica police expressed their sadness, writing "The Utica Police extend our deepest sympathies to the family and law enforcement family of Oneida County Sheriff's Deputy Kurt Wyman. He was shot and killed in Knoxboro early this morning."
People who lived near the scene of the crime say they could hear a commotion around 2:00 a.m.
"We heard gunshots," says neighbor Kim Williams. "There was one that was a lower sounding gunshot, and then there was the popping noise of more, probably five or six gunshots. Then everything started going crazy."
Neighbor Kristi Jaquays says she was shocked.
"It''s very surprising in this small town community that we're in because I wouldn't expect, in this country area, something like this to happen," says Jaquays.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.