Trooper continues to recover

New York State Trooper Douglas T. Hoffman, who was shot in the leg while checking on a parked vehicle last week in upstate New York, is recovering at home, while his partner, Trooper Steven Euler, has returned to work. This is great news, and the PBA will continue to support these Troopers and their families.

After being shot at, the Troopers returned fire at the suspect and wounded him. The suspect remains in the hospital.

Below is an update from the Adirondack Daily Enterprise newspaper.

Alleged trooper shooter’s condition is upgraded slightly

By PETER CROWLEY, Enterprise Managing Editor

Posted on: Wednesday, August 15, 2007

SARANAC LAKE — In the intensive care unit at Adirondack Medical Center, two state police officers are on guard 24-7, watching an unconscious man accused of shooting at two of their fellow troopers on a dirt road outside Tupper Lake.

Alleged gunman Brent A. Bates, 48, of Plattsburgh, remained in critical condition this morning, but doctors on Tuesday upgraded his status from “stable” to “guarded” within the critical condition range, AMC spokesman Joe Riccio said. He is in a medically-induced coma and is expected to go into surgery to repair damage from gunshot wounds, Riccio said this morning. The troopers’ return fire hit Bates in his jaw, shoulder and abdomen, according to state police.

If he lives, he is expected to face attempted murder charges.

State police said Bates fired the first shots at troopers Douglas T. Hoffman and Steven H. Euler after they found him in a car around 1:30 a.m. Thursday on a lonely, unpaved stretch of Kildare Road, near Pitchfork Pond north of Tupper Lake. One of Bates’ shots ricocheted off Hoffman’s flashlight and wounded him in the leg, an injury for which he was treated at AMC and released that same day to recover at home. Euler has since returned to work, Troop B Commander Maj. Richard Smith Jr. said Tuesday.

As for Bates, Smith said, “He’s under arrest; he’s not free to go, even if he were medically able to go.

“The troopers are there not only to ensure his safety at the hospital but to ensure the safety of hospital employees were he to regain ambulatory status.”

There has been no communication between him and state police, Smith said.

According to state police, the troopers encountered Bates parked beside the road, known as a popular teenage party spot, and questioned him, thinking he might be intoxicated. As the troopers walked Bates to the car for his identification, they noticed a handgun under something on the front seat. They tried to restrain him, but he reached the gun anyway and fired at them. They returned fire, wounding him critically, and called for medical assistance.

Authorities found that the .357 Magnum handgun and 2004 Toyota Camry that Bates had were stolen from Plattsburgh the day before.

Bates’ family owns a camp on Pitchfork Pond, according to state police.

State police are still investigating the incident. Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne said Thursday that if Bates lives, he may face additional charges in Clinton County for the stolen goods. Bates is already awaiting sentencing in Clinton County for forgery, his third criminal conviction of the last 20 years, Champagne said.

The shooting was the ninth of a state trooper in the past 17 months — three of them fatal, including one killed by friendly fire. Of those shootings, four came after traffic stops. Over the same period, two other troopers have died in vehicle accidents and another was killed while serving in Iraq.

Enterprise Staff Writer Heather Sackett contributed to this report.