A memorial on the site of a park has been dedicated to NY State Trooper Andrew J. Sperr, who was killed in the line of duty on March 1. The park is still being developed at the site of the final, heroic act of Sperr, who while fatally wounded by gunshots, was able to return fire to two men suspected of robbing a bank in the town of Big Flats. Many PBA members have volunteered their time to clear and develop the land for the memorial park, which is scheduled to open this fall. Below is an article from The Leader newspaper of Corning describing the ceremony.
Memorial dedicated to slain state Trooper Sperr
By Jeffery Smith
BIG FLATS | Four months after being the site of a tragic killing a parcel of land off Kahler Road was transformed Sunday into a festive scene.
Family members, colleagues and friends filled the area for a memorial dedication in memory of slain state Trooper Andrew Sperr, who was killed at the site during a March shootout with suspected robbers.
“This is just overwhelming, what they have done for A.J. is great,” said Andrew Sperr Sr. “The support my son has received from the troopers and this entire community has been wonderful.”
The memorial will be the centerpiece of a park being built on the land, said Horseheads State Trooper Paul Campbell. The park will likely open Sept. 9.
“I did up some drawings about a week after (the killing) took place,” Campbell said. “We took the proposal to the Town of Big Flats and they pretty much told us do what you want to do.”
Campbell thanked the community for supporting the project.
“It’s great to see the support, that’s why I came out here today,” said Horseheads State Trooper Sean Brown, who was shot and wounded in June by fugitive Ralph “Bucky” Phillips.
Dozens of people at the dedication stressed that Sunday was not a day to be sad.
“It’s a celebration,” said Lynn Grottenthaler, a volunteer. “It’s the community being together in a positive way and it shows respect to Andy and to the troopers.”
In his last official act, Sperr, battling mortal wounds, shot and wounded Anthony Horton and Bryan Adams, both of whom are suspected of robbing the Big Flats branch of the Chemung Canal Trust Co.
Sperr was fatally shot as he approached a parked car occupied by Horton and Adams that parked near the Kahler Road site. The two men allegedly arrived at the scene to change vehicles after robbing the bank.
State police said Sperr was unaware of the robbery as he approached the suspect’s car to conduct a routine traffic stop. Both were taken into custody hours later with gunshot wounds.