A confrontation Friday night left a Shenendehowa Central School District elementary school teacher dead and a Glenville police officer wounded by friendly fire.
Brian J. Skinner, 32, a teacher at Orenda Elementary School, was shot and killed by an officer with the Glenville Police Department.
The incident occurred around 11 p.m. Friday night when Glenville and Scotia police were called to 10 Pashley Road for a report of a domestic disturbance. The caller stated that Skinner had a gun, according to a news release from Glenville Police Chief Stephen Janik.
The release said that as officers approached the home they could see movement inside and “a male suspect emerged from the front door and charged officers with a weapon. The suspect was shot by police and subsequently killed.”
Police further said, “during the chaotic scene, a Glenville police officer was shot in the abdomen just under his bullet proof vest.”
State police, who took over the investigation from the local police departments, said in a news release Saturday evening that Skinner charged at police holding a knife.
“Officers from both departments discharged rounds from their sidearms, striking and killing Mr. Skinner,” the release said. “During the law enforcement weapon discharge, Glenville [Police Department] Officer Benjamin Ferretti was struck in the back/abdomen area.”
Police said it’s unknown at this time which police weapon caused Ferretti’s injury.
The Glenville Police Department said Ferretti was airlifted to Albany Medical Center where he underwent surgery and is expected to recover.
It’s unclear at this time who made the call to 911, but state police said their investigation turned up no evidence of a domestic dispute.
“There were no other individuals located at the residence at the time of the incident and no evidence was discovered to indicate a domestic dispute had taken place,” police said.
Janik referred all comments to state police. Scotia Police Chief Peter Frisoni did not return a request for comment.
The Shenendehowa Central School District’s website said Skinner was an fifth-grade teacher at Orenda.
“We are saddened to report that Orenda fifth-grade teacher Brian Skinner was killed last night in an engagement with law enforcement at his home,” said the district on its website.
“The incident had nothing to do with his role as a teacher at Shenendehowa and is still under investigation by the Glenville Police Department.”
State police crime scene technicians could be seen leaving the white, one-story residence and speaking to detectives Saturday morning. Schenectady County property tax rolls list the home as belonging to Skinner. Yellow crime scene tape cordoned off the front of the residence, and a Glenville police cruiser sat in the driveway.
Neighbors said Skinner was quiet.
John Flower, who lives across the street, said he only met Skinner once when Skinner got stuck in the snow.
“I’m just shocked because the guy was very quiet and he didn’t bother anybody,” said Flower, who has lived on Pashley Road for more than 30 years. “He wasn’t that social. I mean if you waved to him, he didn’t even acknowledge you. That’s my experience with him, I don’t know about the other neighbors.”
Neighbor Marlene Murphy said her husband heard a shot but didn’t know what it was for sure until more police activity occurred.
“Shock,” said Murphy, describing her feelings upon learning about the incident. “It’s a very nice neighborhood, a quiet neighborhood except for the traffic going through.”
Murphy has lived on Pashley Road, also across from the residence where the incident occurred, for nearly 25 years. She also said Skinner was quiet.
“I used to see him out running every now and then but that was it,” she said.
Bill Gallagher lives right next door to Skinner, but said he didn’t really know him. “Not much more than to say hello to,” he said.
“I feel terrible for both the police officer that was shot and the young man who died as a result of whatever happened here,” said Gallagher.
Gallagher said incidents like this are highly unusual in the neighborhood.
“And there certainly will be no level of fear or anything like that. It’s a fantastic neighborhood, safe neighborhood, a great place to raise children,” said Gallagher. “I’ve raised two children here and it’s been nothing but a great experience.”
Glenville Supervisor Chris Koetzle said nothing like this has ever happened in the town.
“This is the only time in anyone’s memory that I’ve talked to, and many of them go way back, that a suspect has been killed and that a police officer has been shot,” he said.
Koetzle said a number of years ago a Glenville police officer shot a suspect, but that the suspect survived.
“Right now we’re just praying for the speedy recovery for the officer and his family is in our thoughts. Right now that’s what we’re focused on,” said Koetzle. “Obviously this is an example of the dangers that police officers face across the nation every day. And you never think it’s going to happen in your hometown until it does.”