A Shenendehowa High School graduate and Army veteran died Tuesday from head injuries he suffered trying to break up a fight outside a Washington McDonald’s restaurant, according to police.
Patrick Casey, 33, was just being himself last Friday when he tried to defuse a tense situation, according to his Shenendehowa High School football coach, Brent Steuerwald. In the process of playing peacemaker, Casey was hit in the head when he wasn’t looking. The blow turned out to be fatal.
“He was doing what he always had done,” Steuerwald said. “There was an issue he was trying to resolve in a positive and peaceful manner.”
Casey, a native of Clifton Park who played football at Shenendehowa High School and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, enlisted in the Army when he was 28 and eventually served a year in Afghanistan. Prior to his deployment in Afghanistan, he had believed he would be sent to Iraq and began to learn Arabic.
Casey had moved to Washington this year to begin an international affairs master’s program at George Washington University. “He was anxious to get on with his professional career,” Steuerwald said.
“Patrick was an outstanding athlete, student and fine person in every respect,” he said. “Our community has lost a very fine person who was ready to make a very positive contribution with his life.”
Casey played three years for Steuerwald, who became very close with the family. As a result, he was updated weekly on his former athlete’s life and his experiences in Afghanistan.
Steuerwald said that he hoped his current players would aspire to be like Casey. He recalled that Casey made his presence felt about two years ago, participating in a weight training session while back in the area. Casey spoke to young people about commitment and shared things he had learned from his service.
“He was a contributor,” Steuerwald said. “He has impressed a lot of people.”
Paul and Gail Casey told the Washington Post that their son had been inside a McDonald’s when three people he didn’t know began harassing him and a female companion. The group then pushed Casey’s companion outside the restaurant, which prompted Casey to stand between them.
“At that point, somebody sucker-punches Pat … and he went back and fell and hit his side and he went down” on the sidewalk, his mother told the Post. The attacker and his group then fled.
A police report obtained by the post said that Casey suffered a severe laceration to the back of his head. The incident was caught by surveillance video, which investigators are using to help identify the suspects and any possible witnesses.
Calling hours have tentatively been scheduled for Monday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Gordon C. Emerick Funeral Home in Clifton Park. The funeral Mass is planned for Tuesday at St. Edward the Confessor Church in Clifton Park, with a burial including military honors in Schuylerville.
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Categories: Schenectady County