Foss: Family of slain Schenectady man Roscoe Foster gather year later as murder remains unsolved

Nancy Kelly stands in the intersection of Linden and Becker streets at 1 a.m. for a candle light vigil for Roscoe Foster.
Nancy Kelly stands in the intersection of Linden and Becker streets at 1 a.m. for a candle light vigil for Roscoe Foster.

They gathered at 1 a.m. because that’s when Roscoe Foster died.

They held candles and wore orange shirts and stood at the intersection where Foster was gunned down, a late-night vigil to remember a man whose murder has yet to be solved.

If you happened to pass by early Saturday morning, you might have seen them – approximately 50 people, standing at the intersection of Linden and Becker streets in Schenectady, where Roscoe Foster was killed.  

“He was wearing his orange sweatshirt when he died,” Amanda Patterson, Foster’s longtime girlfriend and mother of his youngest child, told me. “We want him to see that we’re still here.”

I met with Patterson last May and spoke to her about the family’s desire to see an arrest in the case.

On the one-year anniversary of Foster’s death, that desire remains as strong as ever.

The orange shirts worn by friends and family feature a large picture of the scales of justice with angel wings — a potent reminder that nobody has been held charged in connection with Foster’s death.

“My kids suffer every day,” said Jenn Bacon, mother of Foster’s four older children, Ashley, 20, Savannah, 14, Jasiah, 9, and Linda, 8. “I know it really bothers them that the killer has not been served with justice.”

It can take time to close a case, and I remain optimistic that whoever killed Foster will eventually be held accountable.

Beyond helping his family gain a measure of peace, an arrest would send an important message to the entire community: that nobody gets away with murder.

“[The case] is still under investigation,” Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney told The Daily Gazette. “It’s an active investigation. It hasn’t gone cold yet. I know that there is some evidence, but we don’t have an arrest yet.”

When I spoke with Patterson in the spring, the pain of Foster’s death was still very raw. On the night of the vigil she told me that, while things remain difficult, “as a family, we’ve healed a lot.”

Foster’s daughter Savannah Foster told me that she missed her father’s laugh.

“To me, he was always laughing, all the time,” said Savannah, a student at Mont Pleasant Middle School.

“He always took care of us the best he could,” Ashley Parker said. “He always wanted to do something fun. There was never a dull moment with him.”

That was the side of Foster that friends and family recalled early Saturday morning.

The vigil was a reflective yet lively affair, with those who attended describing Foster as a devoted father, partner and friend. A mix of favorite songs, such as Puff Daddy’s “I’ll Be Missing You,” played from a nearby car, and though it was a chilly night, the overall vibe was quite warm. 

Around 1:30 a.m., the crowd began to disperse. 

Before I left, I asked Patterson how it felt to see so many friends and family come together to honor Foster.

“Good,” she said, with a smile. “I’m so happy everybody came.”

Gazette reporter Pete DeMola contributed to this column.

Reach Sara Foss at [email protected]. Opinions expressed here are her own and not necessarily the newspaper’s. 


Categories: News, Opinion, Schenectady County


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