2 suspects in custody in killing of Amsterdam man

Amsterdam police had two men in custody late tonight and said they will be charged Friday in connect
A woman talks to Amsterdam police officers after a man was shot to death May 1 in a driveway on Lark Street.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
A woman talks to Amsterdam police officers after a man was shot to death May 1 in a driveway on Lark Street.

City police had two men in custody late tonight and said they will be charged Friday in connection with the killing of a 35-year-old Amsterdam man.

Jose Payano of McCleary Avenue was shot to death about 1 p.m. during a confrontation outside 25 Lark St. in the city’s East End.

Police were scouring the neighborhood immediately after the shooting looking for two men in a black van whom they described as Hispanic or dark-skinned. Late tonight, Detective Lt. Thomas DiMezza of the Amsterdam Police Department said two men were in custody and would be charged with Payano’s killing today.

DiMezza said Payano was killed in an apparent dispute over a woman.

Neighbors said Payano frequently worked on his car in the old garage where he was shot.

DiMezza said that while that city neighborhood had been a drug haven at one time, this shooting did not appear to be drug-related. Instead, he indicated it more likely involved a dispute over a woman.

Payano was known for cutting people’s hair out of his home in addition to working on autos, acquaintances said. Those acquaintances, some of whom declined to be identified, characterized him as someone who was well-known throughout the neighborhood.

“He’s such a good guy. Everyone knows him and everyone loved him,” friend Toni Cornell said. “I have goose bumps. This is just ridiculous.”

About 30 people gathered at the corner of Lark and East Main streets while investigators gathered information. As word spread of the shooting, a few people became emotional, yelling and crying while friends comforted them and a state police helicopter buzzed overhead.

A man who identified himself as one of Payano’s best friends said he was shocked. He said Payano had a 1-month-old son. The man, who declined to be identfied, also said he believed the situation was over a woman. He said Payano was “talking to a new girl” recently.

In response to the shooting, the Greater Amsterdam School District locked down its six buildings for about an hour.

DiMezza said this was the first homicide in the city since 2001. The last was the stabbing death of Mary Rivera by Keith McKinney at 126 Division St. over $200 to buy crack cocaine.

DiMezza said officials from the state police forensic investigation and major crimes units were called for help with the investigation.

Categories: Schenectady County

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