Letter to Editor: Trooper’s response to murder-suicide was admirable
A letter to the editor by PBA President Daniel M. De Federicis appeared in the October 18, 2004 edition of The Daily Gazette newspaper of Schenectady. President De Federicis wrote the letter in response to criticism from the public regarding the response of a Trooper to a murder-suicide earlier this month. The letter, as published, is as follows:
Regarding criticism of the state police response to the murder-suicide in Princetown on October 1:
The situation was certainly a tragedy. It troubles me that people are attempting to blame the trooper who was first on the scene and not the murderer – Russell Warner – for the death of Liza Warner.
The investigation revealed that Russell Warner had broken into the house with a shotgun, and with material to tie up Liza, sexually assault her, then kill her. She was able to break away to call 911. The responding trooper arrived at the residence approximately one minute later. He approached but did not hear any noise from inside. As he peered through the window, Russell Warner appeared suddenly from around the corner and leveled the shotgun at him. The trooper’s immediate reaction was to seek cover. As he did, shots rang out inside.
When troopers safely entered the house a few hours later, both were found dead.
It is apparent that Liza was already dead when the trooper arrived. She was not restrained and, if alive, would have easily been able to get out of the house when Russell Warner confronted the trooper at the window. Had the trooper not reacted as quickly as he did, he would have most likely been killed.
If Liza had still been alive, what chance would she have had if the trooper allowed himself to be killed? He reacted instinctively to save his life in the hope that he would also be able to render assistance to anyone inside the house.
His ability to remain focused in spite of a stressful situation is admirable. It should not be second-guessed by people who do not know what it is like to be in a life-threatening situation. Place the blame for this tragedy where it belongs, on Russell Warner.
Daniel De Federicis,
The writer is president of the state troopers’ union.