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Crime Gerard O'Sullivan indicted on murder charge in shooting of Haverstraw funeral home colleague

19:35  12 february  2020
19:35  12 february  2020 Source:   lohud.com

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HAVERSTRAW – A funeral home director accused of fatally shooting a colleague behind the business has been indicted on a murder charge that carries a potential life sentence in prison.

a close up of a brick building: T.J. McGowan Sons funeral home in Haverstraw, where a fatal shooting occurred the night before Feb. 7, 2020.© Peter Carr/The Journal News T.J. McGowan Sons funeral home in Haverstraw, where a fatal shooting occurred the night before Feb. 7, 2020.

Gerard O'Sullivan, 60, of New City, fatally shot 42-year-old Noah "Noe" Hamer behind T.J. McGowan Sons Funeral Home on Feb. 6, Haverstraw police said. O'Sullivan was then shot in the left shoulder by a civilian.

Hamer, married for less than a year with no children but three pit bull terriers, worked as the general manager for the funeral homes in town and O'Sullivan had been fired for reasons that remain undisclosed by police.

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OBITUARY: Noah 'Noe Hamer

SHOOTING: Haverstraw funeral home director shot dead, remembered as always pleasant

Officers found O'Sullivan armed with a handgun after the 6:25 p.m. shooting in the rear Union Street parking lot of the funeral parlor, police said. Officers used a taser to subdue O'Sullivan after they reported he refused to drop the gun.

A neighbor told The Journal News/lohud that she heard an officer yelling, "Put down the gun, Jerry, put down the gun. I don't want to shoot you."

O'Sullivan is being held without bail in the Rockland County jail on Monday, pending County Court appearances on the murder and other charges.

After police arrested him, O'Sullivan spent five days in the Westchester Medical Center for his bullet wound. He had been guarded by police after being arraigned by County Court Judge Larry Schwartz.

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A Rockland grand jury returned an indictment Monday charging O'Sullivan with second-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder and menacing a police officer, the Rockland District Attorney's Office announced Wednesday.

Haverstraw police have released no details of what led to the shooting, aside from saying O'Sullivan had been a former employee. Haverstraw village Mayor Michael Kohut, who knew both men, called the shooting a case of workplace violence.

A police news release stated O'Sullivan confronted Hamer in the rear parking lot and fired numerous shots at him. A civilian observed what occurred and shot O'Sullivan in the shoulder, police said.

Hamer was pronounced dead in the parking lot of the funeral home at 133 Broadway.

a car parked on the side of a road: A shooting took place near T.J. McGowan Sons Funeral Home at 133 Broadway in Haverstraw on Feb. 6, 2020.© Mark Lieb/Rockland Video Productions, NY A shooting took place near T.J. McGowan Sons Funeral Home at 133 Broadway in Haverstraw on Feb. 6, 2020.

The funeral home has been an institution since Thomas J. McGowan opened it in 1879. The family opened a second Haverstraw location in Garnerville in 1998, according to the funeral home's website.

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Hamer, known as "Noe," formerly lived in New York City but was active in the local community, including the Haverstraw Elks, according to the funeral home's website. His parents are of Mexican descent and he was bilingual and active with the Latin American Catholic Society.

Kohut said he knew Hamer from attending funerals and other events, and knew O'Sullivan from the village, where he was also known as "D.J. Jerry" for playing music at social events. O'Sullivan also was a member of the Elks with Hamer, as well as their long working relationship.

In a video on the McGowan website, Hamer discusses how he and his staff take "a very hard, sad moment in people’s lives and transition it to a memory, a beautiful memory that they have for a very long time. ... A great day for me, and for us is at the end of a funeral service when we took a family that came here with a very sad moment and we turned it around."

The homicide is not the first criminal investigation at the funeral home.

Funeral director Donald Cranston was charged in 2015 with stealing thousands of dollars from the business. Cranston pleaded guilty a year later and repaid $100,000 to avoid state prison. He was sentenced by Judge David Zuckerman to five years probation, though prosecutors sought prison time.

The funeral home fatal shooting came four days after a 24-year-old man was shot on Church Street in the village, Police provided scant details other than they are investigating and the man was taken to Westchester Medical Center with non-life-threatening wounds. No arrests has been made

In mid-December, two men were shot outside 25 E. Railroad Ave., police said. No arrests have been made.

The shooting marked Rockland's second homicide of 2020, after five in 2019.

Twitter: @lohudlegal

This article originally appeared on The Journal News: Gerard O'Sullivan indicted on murder charge in shooting of Haverstraw funeral home colleague

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