BROWNVILLE — A Pillar Point man faces a first-degree attempted murder charge after police say he fired a gun in the direction of a Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy Tuesday night.
Nathan P. Krump, 45, of 23378 County Route 59, may face additional charges in the wake of the incident at his town of Brownville residence that ended with his home in flames after multiple additional shots were fired.
No one was struck by the gunfire, but four members of the sheriff’s office were taken to Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown, for evaluations of various ailments, according to Sheriff Peter R. Barnett. They were treated and released.
The sheriff said there were “shots fired in all different locations” during the incident.
“All in all, this could have been a hell of a lot worse,” the sheriff said Wednesday morning. “It could have been a hell of a lot worse for law enforcement and local residents as well.”
Sheriff Barnett said that county dispatchers received a 911 call at about 6 p.m. Tuesday requesting that patrols check the welfare of someone at Krump’s address.
According to court documents, Deputy Humberto Perez arrived at the scene and saw a man riding a tractor, but believed he was a neighbor. After Krump’s wife identified the man on the tractor as Krump, Trooper Derrick A. Leonard arrived and the deputy started to approach Krump, only to be warned angrily by Krump to get off his property as the deputy tried to calm him.
Krump then drove the tractor across the road to a boathouse also on his property and entered it. When he came back out, he was holding a white object the deputy could not identify. Deputy Perez told him to drop the object, at which point Krump swore at him and told him to get off his property “or I’m going to shoot you” and also told the deputy he was “going to get killed.”
Krum then allegedly raised the object with one hand, at which time the deputy heard a gunshot. Krump then went into a basement at the boathouse, at which time Deputy Perez ran behind the residence and met back up with Trooper Leonard.
The county’s Mine Resistant Ambush Protected, or MRAP, vehicle and other patrols arrived. According to Deputy Perez’s supporting deposition filed with the court, he used a vehicle in the residence’s driveway as cover while Troopers Leonard, Christopher D. Wyant and Tyler M. Flath similarly used a state police patrol vehicle for cover.
“We began hearing gun shots and could hear the bullets whizzing past us,” Deputy Perez said in his deposition.
The officers moved a safer distance back and a short time later observed the boathouse engulfed in flames. Later, a bullet hole was observed through the windshield of Trooper Leonard’s patrol car. Officers also said they heard bullets striking a neighboring house. Residents of that house were evacuated.
As the residence became engulfed in flames from an undetermined cause, Krump came out and got back onto the tractor, according to documents, striking and causing an unspecified injury to Ryan Snyder.
The tractor was pursued by the MRAP and Krump was taken into custody by the sheriff’s Emergency Response Team.
“We’re very, very lucky that everyone came out of this alive, police officers and civilians alike,” Sheriff Barnett said.
A portion of County Route 59 remained closed through Wednesday afternoon as police continued their investigation. Police worked with area residents to allow them to access or leave their property.
“Nowadays with the complexity of the legal issues, and what it takes to make a case for the prosecution, yes, everything has gotten more complicated,” the sheriff said. “The tools are a lot more universal, and again, the scenes nowadays have to be worked and we’re in no rush. We want to make sure we cross our Ts and dot our Is.”
One nearby neighbor, Christopher Damon, said he was in Watertown when the incident started. He was at his mother-in-law’s house and when he received word it was safe, he went home. When his wife ended up making her way back toward the house, she advised him that the road was closed.
Mr. Damon said he did not really know Krump. He said he’s never noticed any police presence prior to this incident.
Another neighbor on the street, Richard Dodge, said the incident reminded him of the 1987 incident where Stuart R. Moss shot and killed co-worker Vincent J. Pietrowski, 66, and Dexter Village Police Chief Samuel A. Johnson Sr.
“You don’t forget that,” Mr. Dodge said.
He said this incident leaves him wondering if there is any place that is safe.
“Here we are, quiet Pillar Point, everybody seems to know everybody and then we have another tragedy,” he said. “Our society is so out of control and we’re getting so callous to violence like this … It’s a crazy world.”
He was home and received phone calls of the incident. He then let his neighbors know, and hunkered down.
Mr. Dodge said his neighbors were scared, as was he. He said he didn’t know Mr. Krump and that if he saw him he wouldn’t recognize him.
“It could happen in any community,” he said.
Mr. Dodge didn’t get much sleep.
“I went to bed with a loaded weapon next to me,” he said. “I didn’t sleep. I was worried. You’re sitting there on the couch, it’s dark, and you’re thinking, ‘Is somebody going to come in and try to get in the back door?’ Or, ‘Is somebody on the run?’ There’s no way I was going to sit back and say ‘Well I’m just going to finish this movie.’ All of a sudden you go from a resting posture to a defensive one.”
Krump was arraigned Wednesday in Jefferson County Court, Central Arraignment Part, and ordered held without bail at the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building.
A joint investigation between the sheriff’s office, state police and the district attorney’s office is ongoing and further charges are pending, the sheriff said.
In addition to state troopers, the DA’s office and Watertown city police, deputies were assisted at the scene by Jefferson County Fire and Emergency Management, the county’s 911 dispatch center and fire departments from the town of Brownville, Sackets Harbor, Glen Park, Chaumont, town of Watertown, Three Mile Bay, Black River and Northpole.
Town of Brownville first responders and its ladies’ auxiliary also aided, along with county fire investigators and Samaritan Medical Center.
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