Three arrested for shooting at Margaretville gas station

Three people have been arrested in connection with a shooting at the Hess Express gas station on Route 28 in Margaretville that left an Arkville man wounded, according to a press release issued by the New York State Police on Friday evening, Nov. 7.

Keishaun Randall Harper, a 34-year-old man from Charlotte, North Carolina, was charged with felony assault and attempted robbery. He allegedly shot McKenzie Alexander of Arkville in the back of a car in the gas station's parking lot at 10:13 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 6.

Two women were also arrested in connection with the incident. Thirty-two-year-old Joann Winne of Margaretville and 24-year-old Danielle Vitale of Arkville were each charged with felony attempted robbery. 

The three suspects were taken into custody by the Ulster County Sheriff’s Department and the New York State Police from Kingston, and then were arraigned in the Town of Middletown Court and remanded to the Delaware County Jail, the press release states

Below: The Hess Express gas station in Margaretville. Photo by Lissa Harris. 

The new press release identifies the victim of the shooting as McKenzie Alexander. (The release states Alexander's age as 23, while his family says that he is 22 years old.) Police say that Alexander was shot in the left shoulder and sustained "non-life threatening injuries."

Alexander is currently being treated in the intensive care unit at Albany Medical Center, according to Alexander's grandmother, Judy Renner, and his aunt, Kim Archibald, who spoke with the Watershed Post about the shooting.

Archibald and Renner gave the Watershed Post permission to identify Alexander as the victim before police released his name because the information had been shared widely on social media.

"Everybody knows who it is," Archibald said.

Renner and Archibald said that Alexander's assailant pistol-whipped him, fracturing his jaw and knocking out some of his teeth, before shooting him in the shoulder with a handgun. 

A search for the suspect led state police to a vehicle in the parking lot of the Motel 19 on Route 28 in the Ulster County town of Kingston on the morning of Friday, Nov. 7. Police took three people, two women and a man, into custody for questioning, said Nathan Riegal, a spokesman for the New York State Police.

The Daily Freeman reported that police towed a silver sedan from the motel and searched room 20.

While a state police press release said that the incident was an attempted robbery, Archibald said that Alexander was not robbed.

"He didn't get robbed. It was not a drug deal," Archibald said. "It wasn't some random thing where he didn't know the people."

Both women declined to discuss the specifics, but Archibald said that the shooter and Alexander knew each other. 

Archibald and Renner were both at Alexander's bedside in Margaretville Hospital last night, before he was transferred to Albany Medical Center.

"I was home in bed, my phone rang, my daughter said to me, 'McKenzie's shot,'" Renner said. "I got dressed and left. Everybody's very upset."

Archibald said that police questioned Alexander in the hospital for much of the night after the shooting.

The incident has attracted a lot of attention on social media. Alexander's family members urged the Margaretville community for compassion.

"People need to realize that [McKenzie Alexander] does have family, and a little brother, and that they're hurting," Archibald said. "They should choose their words wisely."

Delaware County Undersheriff Craig DuMond said that his agency was not involved in the response to the incident, and that the State Police are handling the case.

The investigation is ongoing, the state police say. 

The staff of the Hess Express gas station would not comment on the shooting.

"We're not at liberty to talk about it," an employee told the Watershed Post before hanging up.

Correction: Renner and Archibald weren't at Alexander's bedside in Albany, as a previous version of this story stated. They were at his bedside in Margaretville Hospital, where Alexander was treated before being transferred to Albany. 

Editor's note: This story has been updated several times as new information has been added. Initial information about the incident from town of Middletown Supervisor Marge Miller was inaccurate and has been removed. Miller called us within an hour to correct the information, and has sent us a statement explaining why her initial information was wrong.

Here is Miller's statement in full:

This morning I received word that a shooting incident had occurred in Middletown, but that no details were available other than the incident had been contained. Contacted by the Watershed Post, and prior to affirming any report with them, I spoke to the Undersheriff of Delaware County, Craig DuMond. DuMond informed me that to the best of his knowledge, no one had been hurt and that the shooter was known to authorities, who were in pursuit, and furthermore that the individual had fled to the Kingston area. This single piece is what I was most interested in as it strongly indicated that the public, here in Middletown, were safe at the time this report was given to me, at approximately 9:15 this morning.

Subsequent to the Watershed Post's original story, I learned that in fact someone had been shot during the incident, and that this individual was receiving care. Also, I was informed - again, by Undersheriff DuMond, that the shooter was in the process of being apprehended. In answer to how he could have got the earlier report of no injury wrong, DuMond told me that the incident was being handled by the NYS Troopers, meaning his information was second hand but was the best he had at the time. I called the Watershed Post with an update at approximately 11:00 a.m.

Marjorie A. Miller, Supervisor
Town of Middletown, Delaware County