Updated 06/23/2011 05:50 AM
Violent incidents led up to Lee shooting
State police say the man who pointed a gun at a trooper, prompting the officer to shoot him, was involved in other violent incidents Tuesday night. Our Sarah Blazonis reports.
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LEE, N.Y. -- State police say by the time a trooper and Oneida County Sheriff's Deputies arrived at James Newbill's home in the Town of Lee Tuesday night, he'd already been involved in two violent incidents.
"He was clearly upset. It was a very emotional night for him and he had expressed to someone that he knew that he was contemplating suicide," said Capt. Francis Coots of the New York State Police.
Earlier, Newbill reportedly rammed another vehicle while driving along State Route 26 and forced his way into a residence and attacked a person inside.
When authorities responded to his home after reports of erratic behavior, he came outside and fired a rifle into the air, then pointed it at officers. The trooper shot him in both hands.
It's the latest incident in Oneida County this year where officers were threatened with a firearm. The previous incident was the shooting death of Deputy Kurt Wyman.
"It's certainly right in the forefront of our minds," said Coots. "What you have to remember is that every police officer who was there last night is a professional. They're trained to take on these situations."
It's a situation that's not just on the rise in the Mohawk Valley. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reports officer fatalities are on the rise from this same time last year, with shooting deaths up 41 percent.
A fund spokesperson says possible causes for the increase include a rise in anti-government sentiment and a drop in available funding for departments.
"That means they have a smaller workforce, they may be asking their officers to work longer hours. That can contribute to fatigue. It could mean that their training budgets or their re-training budgets are being impacted," said Steve Groeninger, senior director of communication and market for the NLEOMF.
A state police spokesperson says it's difficult to pinpoint the local cause of increased violence, since each incident has been unique.
James Newbill was taken to University Hospital in Syracuse to be treated for his injuries. Felony charges against him are pending.