Updated 07/21/2012 06:56 PM
Off-Duty Officer Mistakenly Shoots Son to Death
What was supposed to be a fun summer motorcycle trip ended in tragedy Saturday morning as an off-duty Perry police officer mistakenly shot and killed his 37 year-old son at a motel in Herkimer County. Our Andrew Sorensen tells us the incident has left the quiet Adirondack village stunned and saddened.
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OLD FORGE, N.Y. -- Retired Rochester Police Captain and current Perry Police Officer Michael Leach and his son Matthew, 37, were sharing room six of the Clark's Beach Motel Friday night on a group trip to Old Forge.
"We have a group of police officers that come every couple of years and they come on their motorcycles. They're some sort of a police motorcycle club," explained Clark's Beach Motel Owner Dan Rivet.
Rivet, also a paramedic, responded to an emergency call at 12:51 a.m. Saturday at his motel.
"The son went in the room, the father was sleeping in the bed. And for some reason, whether he had a flashback or whatever, he pulled his service gun and he shot his son in the back," he said.
State Police say Michael may have thought his son was an intruder. Rivet says they rushed Matthew to Saint Elizabeth's in Utica, but there was little they could do.
"Two of our other paramedics and one of our EMTs, who was an Iraqi war veteran with three tours, he was an Army medic. We all worked hard on him, but we were unable to resuscitate him," Rivet said.
Rivet has been working as a paramedic for 51 years. Even he is stunned by something like this happening here.
"Everybody in the village sends their best wishes and prayers out to the family of the deceased and to the father of the deceased," he said.
As the shades remain drawn, and the door locked on room six of the Clark's Beach Motel, there is almost no sign of the incident.
Michael was taken to Saint Luke's in Utica, while police try to figure out what exactly happened.
State Police say they believe the shooting was accidental, but they are still investigating.
The R.P.D released the following statement Saturday afternoon:
"The Rochester Police Department (RPD) wishes to express its deepest sympathy to the Leach family over the tragic loss of Matthew Leach.. We ask that everyone keep the Leach family in their thoughts and prayers."