The shooter in Thursday night’s Union Street killing lured his victim from the apartment, then fired at him with a shotgun, police said. He then drove away.
When the incident was over, the shooter was dead in Niskayuna of a self-inflicted shotgun blast to the head. Two Niskayuna police officers fired five shots, not knowing if the blast was meant for them or others.
But exactly what caused such rage remained unknown, police said.
The shooter, identified as 20-year-old Evan Schwarz, lured Anthony Marko, 21, from his apartment at 854 Union St., first with a promise of beer, then with a promise of returning something.
“The two came down to the truck, on the roadside,” Schenectady Assistant Police Chief Brian Kilcullen said at a Friday afternoon news conference. Schwarz grabbed his recently purchased shotgun from the front seat. “He shot Marko and, while he was down, shot him at least one more time.”
Marko was hit in the head and chest and died instantly, authorities said.
They said Schwarz fled east on Union Street in the truck, eventually ending up at Hillcrest Village Apartments in Niskayuna.
But police were already there, speaking to a woman described as Schwarz’ girlfriend. She was not identified.
She had called police just before 8 p.m. concerned over Schwarz. He arrived about 20 minutes after the Schenectady shooting.
He drove slowly past the officers and fired a single shotgun blast to his head.
Niskayuna officers, who heard the shot and exploding glass, returned fire.
Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney concluded the return of fire, a total of five shots by two officers, was justified.
“They were quite right in doing so. But it ultimately didn’t have any effect on the resolution of the matter. He killed himself with a shotgun,” Carney said.
Carney estimated the officers were about 20 feet from the truck. A third officer was just pulling in when the blast went off. The other two may have believed that officer was in danger as well.
Niskayuna Police Chief Lewis Moskowitz declined to name the officers who fired until the investigation has concluded. He said several were on the scene. No officers’ duty status has changed.
Still unclear is why Schwarz would target Marko.
A man identifying himself as a Schwarz friend said Thursday night that Schwarz purchased the shotgun after quarreling with his mother and father. Schwarz was also prone to suicidal thoughts whenever he failed to take his medication, the man said.
Police know Evan Schwarz and Anthony Marko were linked through a woman, whom friends have identified as Amanda Marko. Amanda Marko and Anthony Marko had been married, but they had been estranged for at least a year, police said. Police were unsure if they had been actually divorced.
Schwarz and Amanda Marko were dating. Schwarz moved into her Niskayuna apartment about two weeks ago, police said.
The estranged Markos, who had two children together, had disputes in the past significant enough for charges against Anthony Marko to be filed. He had made threats against her, according to papers filed in court.
He was charged in January 2008 with aggravated harassment, accused of repeatedly calling her in November and December 2007, threatening to kill himself and to “come after her.”
An order of protection was issued and he was accused of violating it on May 28, 2008, according to papers. In that incident, Anthony Marko was accused of grabbing Amanda by the neck and threatening to kill her and the children.
The two incidents were each wrapped up with Anthony Marko pleading guilty to violation harassment. He was to be sentenced on the most recent case next month, records show.
There was no indication of disputes since.
Friends gave a different description of Anthony Marko, calling him a straight arrow and a good man.
He worked two jobs to make ends meet.
Schwarz also had contacts with police, Kilcullen said. Those contacts, however, did not result in charges and Kilcullen would only describe them as encounters. The most recent was four or five months ago.
Kulcullen acknowledged the case isn’t following stereotypes.
“The current boyfriend usually doesn’t have the issue with the ex-boyfriend,” Kilcullen said. “The ex-boyfriend frequently has the issue with the new boyfriend. But that wasn’t the case here.”
And police hadn’t found any direct animosity that led up to the shooting. “It didn’t seem to be adversarial, from what we know so far,” Kilcullen said.
Police were also looking into when Schwarz purchased the shotgun. Kilcullen could only say Friday that it was recent.
Only a half-hour lapsed from the first call to the Niskayuna police by the girlfriend to the last shot fired by police, officials said.
Moskowitz credited the quick resolution to Niskayuna police dispatcher Kimberly Zeltins. who took the initial call from the girlfriend and connected that with the shooting in Schenectady.
“She heard the description of the vehicle in Schenectady and put two and two together,” Moskowitz said.
Zeltins was credited in 2003 with helping deliver a baby.