Off-duty Vt. deputy involved in gunfight shot by N.Y. police
Bodycam footage shows police responding to the shootout during which the off-duty deputy refused to drop his gun and was then shot by police
By Maysoon Khan
Associated Press/Report for America
ALBANY, N.Y. — Gunfire on the streets of Saratoga Springs early Sunday morning left at least three people wounded, including an off-duty sheriff’s deputy from Vermont who was shot multiple times by police.
The gunfire broke out at 3 a.m. in the historic downtown of the small city, known for its thoroughbred horse racing, fine restaurants and cultural attractions.
Video from a street camera appeared to show a group of people fighting on the sidewalk, then scattering as shots were fired.
Two men were shooting at each other as police arrived, including a deputy from the Rutland County Sheriff's Office, according to Saratoga Springs Police Sgt. Paul Veitch.
Body camera video released by the city showed officers running toward the sound of the gunshots with their pistols drawn, one screaming “drop the gun!”
When the sheriff's deputy, who was not in uniform, didn't drop his weapon, Saratoga Springs officers opened fire, according to Commissioner of Public Safety James Montagnino.
The deputy, who was not immediately identified, suffered 10 bullet wounds, including one to the chest, but was conscious and was expected to survive, the Times-Union reported.
His girlfriend's arm was grazed by a bullet.
The deputy had gotten into a barroom argument with a group of three people from Utica, Montagnino said. After the fight spilled onto the street, the deputy showed his weapon and the Utica man drew his, which was when gunfire broke out, the commissioner said.
Seven to eight shots were fired between the two, and the deputy shot the Utica man, Times-Union reported.
All three gunshot victims were in stable condition at a hospital, Veitch said early Sunday evening. Authorities didn't identify them.
The shooting is the first time in 26 years that a police officer in Saratoga Springs fired a weapon at someone, Montagnino said.
“I’m proud of how our officers handled it,” Montagnino said. “No one emptied their clip.”
For decades, New York has tightly restricted who can carry firearms in public, but a Supreme Court decision in June held that the state's licensing laws were unconstitutional.
Revised rules that make it illegal to carry a firearm inside a place that serves alcohol are the subject of a court challenge, but are still in effect.
“Nobody should be on Caroline Street at 3 o’clock in the morning drinking that has a weapon. End of story," said Saratoga Springs Mayor Ron Kim.
Maysoon Khan is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow Maysoon Khan on Twitter.