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Off-Duty Detective Cleared In Shooting Death Of Neighbor

The area of Main Street in Cornwall where the shooting occurred.
The area of Main Street in Cornwall where the shooting occurred. Photo Credit: Google Maps street view

An off-duty Rockland County detective who shot and killed his Orange County neighbor has been cleared of any wrongdoing by a grand jury.

Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler announced that on Wednesday, March 17, an Orange County grand jury declined to file charges against an off-duty Town of Ramapo Police detective who shot a man on Monday, July 6, at the detective’s residence in the Town of Cornwall.

An investigation determined that the man, who suffered from mental health issues and lived next-door to the detective, had shown up at the detective’s house unannounced and attempted to stab the detective with a knife, the DA's Office said.

The man was shot by the detective and died. 

According to the District Attorney's Office, the incident took place around 10:55 p.m. when the detective's dog began barking at the back/side door which was open with a screen door covering it.

One of the detective's children went to the door, but was scared away by the 40-year-old neighbor, who she " perceived as having an angry countenance and aggressive posture."

The off-duty detective went to the door. At the time the detective was wearing a privately owned 9 mm handgun in a holster. 

According to the detective, the man swung a knife at the detective as the storm door was opening and attempted to stab the detective, who was still standing inside his house, the DA's Office said. 

The detective shot the man once in the chest and died at the scene, the DA's Office said.

It was later reported by the father of the deceased man that his son suffered from chronic mental health issues including bipolar, schizoaffective, and social anxiety disorders, the DA's Office said.

“It is clear that this off-duty detective was legally justified in using deadly physical force to avoid being attacked with a knife inside his home,” said Hoovler. “It is always a tragedy when someone loses their life, and never more so than when the deceased was suffering from mental illness and associated issues. My deepest condolences go out to the family of the deceased man and particularly to his father.”

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