Erwin, NY – New York State Police Trooper Nicholas Clark was fatally shot in the line of duty on Monday morning, as he responded to a call for a suicidal man.
Trooper Clark, 29, was struck by a bullet fired by 43-year-old Steven Kiley, the principal of the Bradford Central School District, which is located about 25 minutes from where the shooting occurred, WENY reported.
The incident began when police received a 911 call at about 3:30 a.m. on July 2, regarding a suicidal individual who had barricaded himself inside a home on Welch Road.
The caller was the suspect’s ex-wife, and she told police she thought he was armed, State Police First Deputy Superintendent Chris Fiore told reporters during a press conference on Monday afternoon.
Officers from the New York State Police, the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office, and the Corning Police Department responded to the scene and attempted to make contact with Kiley but crisis negotiators were unsuccessful in reaching him, according to WENY.
State Police First Deputy Superintendent Chris Fiore said Trooper Clark was fatally shot during the response.
“During this situation, after Trooper Clark was hit with gunfire, a deputy sheriff put his own life in danger to pull Trooper Clark to a position of safety,” Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters at the press conference.
Unfortunately, the trooper’s wounds were fatal.
Police later found Kiley deceased inside the home. He was believed to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
State Police Major Richard Allen said that Trooper Clark grew up in Steuben County, where he was a two-time state wrestling champion and “standout” football player, according to The Washington Post.
“Nick was a wonderful young man, highly regarded for his community spirit, great heart, and unquestionable skills as a football player. Whenever the Saxons got into a tough situation on the football field, the coaches sent in Nick Clark to get the job done,” Alfred University President Mark Zupan said in a statement released by the university, WENY reported.
Trooper Clark tried out for the Buffalo Bills before he dedicated his life to law enforcement. He graduated from the New York State Police Academy in 2015.
“A situation like this makes no sense,” the governor said. “A 29-year-old with his whole life ahead of him... he just wanted to do good things.”
Trooper Clark had been excited about the assignment to a state police barracks near his hometown.
"He transferred back here to the Bath barracks in August 2017, where he was very proud to serve the citizens that he called friends and neighbors, to try to give back to the community," Maj. Allen said. Trooper Clark had previously served the state police in Auburn and Ithaca.
Trooper Clark is survived by his parents and his brother. The trooper’s union said it would assist the family with funeral arrangements.
"Trooper Clark is a hero who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of serving and protecting others. Despite the inherent dangers in today's society, our troopers have answered - and will continue to answer - the call of duty again and again," said Thomas H. Mungeer, president of the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association, according to CBS News.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of New York State Police Trooper Nicholas Clark, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Trooper Nick Clark, your life mattered.