Police: third person was present during deadly shooting in Watertown

Updated: Apr. 29, 2021 at 5:12 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - We’ve learned a third person was inside the Bridgeview Real Estate Services office when the owners, Maxine Quigg and Terry O’Brien, were shot to death on Wednesday by a former employee.

Detective Lieutenant Joe Donoghue of the Watertown Police Department held a news conference Thursday.

He disclosed the alleged shooter, 55 year old Barry Stewart of West Carthage, was in and out of the Watertown real estate office quickly and that a third person was there.

“We know from video that Mr. Stewart was in the office for a very short time. Less than a minute,” said Donoghue.

It’s not clear why the third person was not shot - if they escaped, if the gunman didn’t know they were there, or if the gunman ignored them.

When asked if either of the victims was armed, Donoghue declined to comment, but did say the only shots that were fired were from Stewart’s gun.

Donoghue would not comment on potential motives at this time.

“This happens. We are not alone in this. Unfortunately, these events occur daily now and we hope that they will not repeat themselves. When this is done, we will look back at what we’ve done and we will try to see if we can improve in areas and see if we can assist people,” said Donoghue.

Donoghue wouldn’t confirm the the type of handgun Stewart allegedly used, but did say it was legally registered to him, and the former Bridgeview employee owned more than one firearm. Donoghue said ballistics tests will be performed on the gun that police recovered.

Donoghue also said police made several unsuccessful attempts to contact Stewart’s cell phone after the shooting. Only later did they learn that Stewart dumped his phone in the area of Meade Street before making his way to Franklin County.

Police were tracing his phone and believed he was in the Meade Street area, which is why officials told residents of nearby Kelsey Creek Apartments to stay inside their homes. It’s also why Jefferson County Public Health Service locked down its office on Meade Street.

“His phone, we believe, was recovered. We still have to open it to have it examined, but we do believe we have his phone,” said Donoghue.

Donoghue said police have an idea of where Stewart was heading, but declined to elaborate.

State police tried to apprehend Stewart in the Franklin County town of Dickinson. However, troopers said Stewart died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

One of the victims, Terry O’Brien, is survived by a brother who’s on the Watertown police force and Donoghue said his pain is felt throughout the department.

“We have one of our officers with Sergeant Dennis O’Brien. It is hard for a lot of the officers. We’re friends with Dennis and both the victims were well known in this city and we will work with the families,” he said.

We’ve also learned more about Barry Stewart’s professional life.

We know that he opened his own real estate business in March after leaving BridgeView. His business was called Homes by Barry Stewart and was a subsidiary of EXP Realty of Syracuse.

Since the shooting, his business website has been taken down.

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