SCHENECTADY — Two children and an adult were shot in an incident on Union Street Tuesday afternoon, police said at a briefing.
The suspect in the shooting fled, but was later captured at a home on Summit Avenue with an apparently self-inflicted gun wound, police said.
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Police identified the suspect as 47-year-old Deshawn Howard. City Police Chief Eric Clifford said he could not confirm whether Howard lived in the apartment where the incident took place. He also could not say how many weapons Howard had or what type of weapon was used.
The incident happened near the corner of Union Street and Brandywine Avenue.
Police received the call at about 12:49 p.m. about a possible domestic incident on Union Street where a female had been shot.
A press release from the police department said they found a 16-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy at the intersection of Union Street and Brandywine suffering from gunshot wounds. Then they saw a 35-year-old woman exit the home with wounds as well.
“We quickly realized there was a second child victim and then as our officers approached and surrounded the building we found that there was a third victim that was an adult,” Clifford told reporters.
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All were taken to local hospitals to be treated. Their conditions were all described as stable, but guarded.
Officers believed the suspect may still be in the house, along with an 1-year-old male infant child.
“Our officers were able to make entry and take the infant baby out of the building,” Clifford said. “The infant is unharmed.”
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The infant was taken to a local hospital for an evaluation.
City police then asked for help from the state police and called in a helicopter as the they learned the suspect may have fled, Clifford said.
Police then tracked down the suspect at about 3:18 p.m. and took him into custody. He is alive and in police custody with the apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, Clifford said.
Sgt. Matt Dearing, spokesman for the department, said that Howard was in stable condition.
Chief Clifford said police also took a woman who lived in the apartment building into custody, but was not sure of what her status was. He could not confirm which floor of the building she lived on, but said she did not appear to be harmed.
Clifford declined to categorize the incident when asked whether the shootings were the result of a domestic dispute.
Mohinie Narine, a city resident who lives next door to where the incident took place, said Howard and another woman lived in that home. She said she had minimal interactions with them, but said she never heard them fighting.
Narine’s granddaughter, though, said she had heard them arguing before the incident on Tuesday.
At one point, while police were still searching for Howard, Clifford said they were considering releasing Howard’s name to the media with the hope they would receive assistance from the public. However, he said they received a phone call at the police department tipping them off to Howard’s whereabouts.
“It’s very important to get as much information from the public as we can,” Clifford said.
Newspaper and jail records show that Howard was arrested in April in Schenectady on multiple misdemeanor counts. He was charged with assault, obstructing governmental administration and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
It was unclear how the case in April was resolved, including whether any orders of protection were issued. Records show Howard spent two days in jail before being released after posting $1,000 bail.
The scene moments after the shootings took place was a chaotic one.
Police could be seen early on carrying a child out of a building yelling “Medic! Medic!”
That child was ultimately uninjured, police said later.
The suspect being taken into custody by police (Photo: Peter R. Barber)
Police set up a mobile command unit on Union Street. An apparent armored vehicle could also be seen in the area with police and patrol cars. Streets in the area were blocked off.
State police assisted city police in locating Howard. A state police helicopter could also be seen in the air.
Police were trying to locate a vehicle they believed Howard may have been in. Clifford said he didn’t know if that vehicle was ever located, though.
It was unclear when the streets would be opened back up.
Chief Clifford said they needed to get all of their equipment out of the area and make sure the scene was contained.
“Because this is a crime scene,” Clifford said. “We need to process it. We will try to limit the impact on the community as much as we can.”
Schenectady County Community College sent out an emailed release saying that its campus, the Kindl Building and the Center City extension were placed on lockdown around 3:15 p.m. That was lifted shortly after 4 p.m. once the college was notified the suspect was in custody, according Jason Politi, spokesman for the college.
Police just carried a child out. Not sure of condition. But officer could be heard yelling “Medic! Medic!”
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There are currently no charges filed against Howard as Clifford said they were still investigating the incident.
Clifford said whenever something like Tuesday’s incident happens, his department is there to respond and will use all their resources to make sure they can bring an end to the incident.
Mayor Gary McCarthy, who was on scene throughout most of the afternoon, commended the police department’s response, along with the other agencies that assisted.
“It’s a tragic situation, but it shows really the professional response that was put together,” McCarthy said. “And that it’s being brought to a close in a relatively short period of time.”
Editor’s note: This story was corrected at 7:25 a.m. on July 11, 2018. An earlier version did not make it clear that police suspect Deshawn Howard’s gunshot wound was self-inflicted, but they are still investigating. The earlier version also incompletely identified Police Chief Eric Clifford.