The longest day: Inside the Bovina standoff

Above: Justin Geraghty and his son in 2013. Photo courtesy of Liahna Cole. 

Around lunchtime last Sunday, Peter Mullin and Victoria Charkut were in their Catskills backyard in the town of Bovina, enjoying the warm August sunshine. Showtunes played on the radio and laundry hung on the fence as Charkut knitted on the back porch. Mullin was working on their new deck. 

Suddenly, there was a man in their yard, twenty feet away, aiming a shotgun at them. Get in the house, he told them. He threatened to kill them if they didn't. 

Terror ripped through the couple. Mullin, the gun trained on him, began to walk up the steps, but Charkut, frozen with fear, was rooted to the porch. She asked the gunman not to hurt them. He aimed the gun at her and told her, again, to go inside.

It looked to Mullin and Charkut like the man had been running. He was sweaty and covered with dirt, and smelled like alcohol. But the hands aiming the gun at them were steady.

Above: A stretch of County Route 5 the day after the standoff. Mullin and Charkut's house is in the stand of trees on the left. Photo by Julia Reischel. 

For Mullin and Charkut, that was the moment that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. For 32-year-old Justin Geraghty, the gunman, it was a moment of no turning back.

Twelve hours later, after a standoff with police that had the entire town of Bovina sheltering in fear, Geraghty was dead in Mullin and Charkut's house, his body found in a wooden sauna located in a second-floor bathroom. He had killed himself.

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Police: Bovina gunman dead of apparent suicide

A gunman who was involved in a hostage situation and a long standoff with law enforcement in a Bovina house on Sunday is dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, Delaware County sheriff's deputies said in a statement released at 11am Monday.

The gunman was identified as 32-year-old Justin Geraghty, a parolee who was wanted on an arrest warrant from the New York State Division of Parole for violation of parole, and another from the Delhi Police Department for first-degree burglary, third-degree assault and petit larceny.

Reporter Julia Reischel has eyewitness accounts from yesterday's standoff, and we will be posting a more detailed story shortly. Embedded below is the official statement on the incident from the Delaware County Sheriff's Office.  Read more

Standoff with armed gunman ends in Bovina

A standoff between police and an armed gunman that had the town of Bovina on lockdown Sunday has come to an end, police say. But officials are not yet releasing details about the situation, or why it is no longer active.

Delaware County Undersheriff Craig DuMond said Monday morning that the standoff was over and County Route 5/Pink Street, which had been cordoned off near the house where the gunman was sheltering, was open once again. 

DuMond would not release any other information at this time. We will update this post when we have more information.

Update, 12:15pm: The gunman, 32-year-old Justin Geraghty, was found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to a statement issued at 11am Monday by the Delaware County Sheriff's Office.

Lockdown lifted for most of Bovina, but standoff with gunman continues

Bovina is one of those little rural towns that deserves to be called "sleepy." By 11pm on Sunday night, it's usually lights-out for the Delaware County town's 600-odd residents. But on Sunday, August 11, lights were blazing in house after house in Bovina Center, as locals waited for the end of a standoff between an armed gunman and local law enforcement.

On Sunday afternoon at 2pm, Delaware County Emergency Management issued a notice advising all Bovina residents to stay inside and lock their doors. Officials later confirmed that the cause of the alert was a manhunt for a gunman. By Sunday evening, the man was holed up in a house on Pink Street, surrounded by state and local police who were attempting to negotiate a surrender. Confirmed details about the situation are still scarce, but an official told the Watershed Post that the man held two hostages at gunpoint on Sunday, both of whom escaped unharmed.  Read more

Suspect is "contained" in Bovina manhunt; standoff continues

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Above: A map of Bovina Center. A standoff between police and an armed man is ongoing tonight at a house on County Highway 5.

The subject of a manhunt in the Delaware County town of Bovina is surrounded in a house on County Highway 5, also known locally as Pink Street, this evening, according to law enforcement dispatchers at 6:30pm.   Read more

Cairo man fined for bear poaching

A Cairo man was recently charged with off-season poaching for shooting a 150-pound black bear near his house on May 29, according to officials from the Department of Environmental Conservation. 

Joseph Budz, 40, admitted to shooting the bear, and agreed to pay $752.50 to the Cairo Town Court to settle the misdemeanor charge in a civil compromise.

According to DEC officials, a necropsy showed that the bear was killed while moving away from the shooter, and died from a single gunshot wound. The bear was reportedly not acting in an aggressive or destructive manner.

Shandaken employee charged with embezzling flood funds

An employee of the Shandaken highway department has been charged with embezzling over $20,000 from the town, some of it allegedly from FEMA funds meant for Irene flood relief.

On Wednesday, state police arrested 46-year-old Florence Sullivan of Chichester and charged her with third-degree grand larceny, first-degree falsifying business records, and first-degree scheme to defraud, all felonies.

According to a state police statement, Sullivan manipulated town payroll and financial records associated with both herself and other employees, including federal flood relief payment records. As a result, police said, Sullivan received over $20,000 in overpayments and benefits, while other town employees had money wrongfully withheld.   Read more

Mount Tremper chemical spill linked to Fleischmanns junkyard operator

Above: Piles of earth surrounded by hay bales and covered with tarps dot William Hrazanek's Wittenberg Road property in Shandaken on July 11. They are part of the remediation of a chemical spill on his property. Photo by Julia Reischel. 

A large chemical spill was discovered last month on land in the town of Shandaken owned by Catskills junkyard operator William Hrazanek. The spill occurred near a tributary of the Esopus Creek.

In an incident that appears to be related, several of Hrazanek's junkyards in Fleischmanns, across the county line in Delaware County, were raided by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on July 9.

Despite Freedom of Information Law requests by the Watershed Post, neither the DEC nor the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have released any information about the chemical spill, nor have they indicated whether nearby wells or the Esopus Creek were contaminated.  Read more

Jennifer Morris re-arrested for threats on Walton school

It took months of police work, and an investigation that involved a slew of law enforcement agencies, from the Walton village police to the FBI, but it finally happened: An arrest has been made in connection with a series of sadistic Facebook threats made to children in the Walton Central School District

While the arrest is sure to be welcome news to the community, it did not come soon enough to prevent months of threats, online harassment, police searches at the schools, and -- a final indignity -- the cancellation of the last day of class at the Townsend Elementary School on Thursday.  Read more

Delaware County drug sweep nets eight arrests

A five-month investigation into local drug activity in Delaware County has netted eight arrests, county police announced today. Five women and three men were arrested recently and charged with a variety of heroin- and prescription-drug-related offenses.

According to a statement from the Delaware County Sheriff's Office, the arrests were made after a county grand jury handed down a number of sealed indictment warrants on Friday, June 14. The investigation and arrests were carried out by sheriff's deputies along with the Delaware County Probation Department, the Walton and Sidney village police departments, the Chenango County Sheriff's Office and New York State Police.

The investigation is ongoing, and undersheriff Craig DuMond said more arrests are pending.

A list of the arrestees, from the Delaware County Sheriff's Office:  Read more

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