The man charged with the recent shooting death of Aron Thomas turned himself in voluntarily to a DEP police officer before he was arrested, sources have told the Watershed Post.
At 6:46 a.m. on Monday, police say, 53-year-old David Reese of Gilboa shot and killed a co-worker at the Kingston office of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, 33-year-old Aron Thomas of Olivebridge.
Kingston city police announced that they had arrested Reese, and recovered a handgun, within hours of the shooting. Few details about the shooting have been released, and police have not offered a possible motive.
But according to sources close to the incident, immediately after the shooting, Reese surrendered to another fellow DEP co-worker, an officer with the DEP Police who was also at work in the Kingston building. Reese also handed over his gun to the officer, sources said.
Reese faces a charge of second-degree murder. At a brief arraignment on Monday, Reese pled not guilty.
Reese is a stationary engineer who worked in the same area of the DEP's Kingston office as Thomas, a watershed maintainer. The two men worked in different fields, and neither reported to the other.
Asked whether Reese surrendered to his own agency, DEP spokesman Adam Bosch said that all questions about the shooting and the investigation should be directed to the Ulster County District Attorney's Office and law enforcement.
Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright declined to give any comment on how Reese was taken into custody.
Reese: No red flags
Reese, a married father of two, has no apparent history of trouble with the law. His wife, Elsa Reese, told a Daily Star reporter after her husband's arrest that she was not aware of any dispute between the two men, and that she had never even heard her husband speak about Aron Thomas.
From the Daily Star's story, "Workplace shooting leaves two families shattered":
Elsa Reese told The Daily Star she had never heard her husband speak of Aron Thomas, a married father of two young children. And if he was having disagreements with anyone at work, she said, he didn’t talk about it.
“I feel very, very sorry for his family,” she said of Reese, her soft voice quivering with emotion. “They lost him and I lost my husband. My life is in turmoil. I don’t understand what is going on.”
David Reese's brother Joseph Reese, who lives in Kansas City, was also mystified by the events, telling the Times Herald-Record that the shooting was "a tragedy on both ends":
With a wife, two daughters, a house and a good-paying job, Reese's family grasped to get inside his head and find out what would have led to his accusations of murder.
"Something really had to push him over the edge," his brother said. "It would take a lot to get under his skin. He was driven to a point where he couldn't take it anymore."
Community rallies around victim's family
Aron Thomas's killing has left a void in the small, rural Ulster County town where he lived. An avid outdoorsman and a volunteer for Olive First Aid and the Olive Fire Department, Thomas was well-known and liked in the community.
Friends and family members are rallying to support Aron's wife, Susan Thomas, and the couple's two children, ages two and six weeks. So far, a GoFundMe fundraising drive for the young family organized by Aron's sister Kylene Thomas has raised over $35,000.