Police officer, sheriff’s deputy and shooter killed in exchange of gunfire in upstate NY, police say

Apr 14, 2024, 11:08 PM | Updated: Apr 15, 2024, 12:36 pm

LIVERPOOL, N.Y. (AP) — A police officer and a sheriff’s deputy were shot and killed in an upstate New York suburb by a man who was killed by law enforcement in an exchange of gunfire, authorities said.

The shootings took place shortly after 8 p.m. Sunday in Liverpool, about 6 miles (10 kilometers) north of Syracuse.

The slain Syracuse police officer had earlier attempted to pull over a car believed to have been driven by Christopher Murphy, 33. But the driver refused to pull over and eluded police, Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick told The Associated Press on Monday.

Officers were able to identify the license plate and tracked it to an address in nearby Liverpool. They requested assistance from the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office, Syracuse Police Chief Joseph Cecile said during a news conference.

The officers found the vehicle at the home and saw what appeared to be guns inside the automobile. At some point, they “heard what sounded like someone manipulating a firearm from inside the residence,” Cecile said.

Inside the house, Murphy had told a friend police were not going to arrest him and that the friend needed to leave. The friend ran from the house. Murphy began firing a high-capacity weapon, Fitzpatrick said.

“We believe the first officer shot is a sheriff’s deputy in the rear of the house. And I don’t believe he knew what was coming,” Fitzpatrick said.

Murphy came out of the house and fired on four Syracuse police officers who were out front, striking one near the armpit in an area not protected by the officer’s vest. Two officers returned fire, including the officer who was shot, the prosecutor said.

The Syracuse officer, sheriff’s deputy and the suspect were brought to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse. All three were pronounced dead at the hospital, Cecile said. The officers’ names were not immediately released.

“We lost two heroes tonight,” Cecile said.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said she was “horrified by the senseless killing” of the two officers.

“My prayers are with their families, loved ones, and their colleagues,” the governor posted on X. “New York will never forget their heroism and service.”

The officers were the first law enforcement officers to be killed in the line of duty in Onondaga County since Officer Wallie Howard Jr. was shot to death during an undercover drug operation in October 1990, officials said.

Cecile said the Syracuse officer who was killed had been with the department for three years and was ambitious and hard-working.

Onondaga County Sheriff Toby Shelley said the deputy had been with the department for a longer period of time and “was just a great guy.”

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said, “This is a dark day for Syracuse. This is our worst nightmare come true.”

Shelley said police planned to search the house as part of the ongoing investigation.

Murphy had no criminal record beyond being charged with driving while intoxicated a decade ago, Fitzpatrick said.


An earlier version of this report had incorrect spelling of Onondaga County Sheriff Toby Shelley’s last name.

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Police officer, sheriff’s deputy and shooter killed in exchange of gunfire in upstate NY, police say