The violence occurred just after 5 p.m. on Wednesday, September 8 near the top of Deerfield road, a neighborhood of single family homes nestled in dense woods adjacent to the high school’s athletic field. According to state police Investigator Peter Kusminsky, Brandon “Bebe” Jones and Eban X. Woullard, both 16 showed up at 79 Deerfield Road accompanied by an 18 year old Woodstock man who had driven them to Boiceville from Kingston. According to police, none of those involved lived at 79 Deerfield Road but all had “mutual acquaintances” at the house. Police said the teens approached a 20 year old man from Willow sitting in a car in the driveway. A dispute ensued and one of the 16 year olds (police declined to say which teen they believe was the triggerman) pulled out a .38 caliber revolver and fired two shots striking the Willow man in left leg and the right arm. The pair then fled on foot through the belt of woods between Deerfield Road from the Onteora High School playing fields, ditching the pistol along the way. They emerged at the Lukoil gas station on State Route 28 where they hitched a ride back to Kingston with a patron who, Kusminsky said, was unaware of the violence which had just transpired.
As Woullard and Jones traveled back to Kingston with their unwitting wheelman, dozens of police descended on the area around Deerfield Road. At the high school, where about 50 students remained for athletic practice, a lockdown was ordered. The students were herded into the gym where they remained for about two hours, school officials said. Meanwhile heavily armed cops from four police agencies fanned out through the area believing that the suspects were on foot. From a command post in a conference room at the high school’s central office, state police supervising the search deployed helicopters, dog teams and foot patrols to search backyards and wooded areas around the school. A landing zone was set up at Bennett Elementary school where a medical evacuation helicopter landed to transport the shooting victim to Westchester Medical Center where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Search teams found the gun allegedly used in the shooting in the woods behind the school.
While state troopers, Sheriff’s Deputies, cops from the Town of Olive and New York City DEP police searched for the suspects, investigators with the Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team were called in to assist the investigation, police said. The countywide drug and gang task force maintains extensive intelligence files on reputed gang members and drug dealers. Based on police scanner traffic, it appears that the URGENT officers were able to identify the alleged gunmen within an hour of the shooting.
“All we really had to go on were street names, but once we had those we knew who we were looking for,” said URGENT commander Detective Lieutenant Ed Brewster. “Our guys were very familiar with them.”
URGENT investigators and Kingston police tracked down the teens in Kingston later that night. According to Brewster, one of the suspects was caught on a midtown street while another was arrested at a residence in the same neighborhood. According to police, Jones lives on Pine Grove Avenue and Woullard on Henry Street. By 4 a.m. both teens had been arrested, arraigned and sent to the Ulster County Jail with no bail. Both were charged with attempted murder while Jones faces an additional felony charge of criminal possession of a weapon.
Police have declined to give specifics on a motive for the shooting except to say that Jones and Woullard intended to rob their victim. Kusminsky added that while the Kingston teens had ties to the Bloods street gang, the victim had no known gang ties and police do not believe the shooting stemmed from a gang feud. Kusminsky and Brewster both declined to comment when asked whether drugs were involved. Brewster did say that the URGENT investigators had heard the victims name come up in the course of their work.
“We’d heard his name before,” said Brewster. “He was not actually very familiar to us but his name had popped up here and there.”
Asked about a motive for the robbery Brewster replied. “He was targeted; I guess they got word that he might have something worth ripping off.”
Kusminsky said that the investigation was continuing and that the victim in the case was cooperating with police. Kusminsky added that the Woodstock man who drove Woullard and Jones to 79 Deerfield drive was considered a witness in the investigation. ++