Neighbors tell of dramatic end to fatal shooting manhunt

Published: Feb. 21, 2022 at 11:56 AM EST
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MASSENA, New York (WWNY) - The manhunt for the alleged killer of a SUNY Potsdam music education major apparently came to a dramatic end in Massena Saturday.

Thirty-one-year-old Michael Snow was arrested at his 250 Main Street home about 24 hours after 21-year-old Elizabeth Howell was found fatally shot on a Potsdam street Friday evening.

Richard Gordon, who lives on the second floor of 250 Main Street, said he could hear police at the door of a downstairs apartment.

“Police announced they were state police and that they had a search warrant and ‘open up,’” said Gordon.

The door to the apartment didn’t open. Then it got loud.

“It sounded like they were banging the door in. Then it sounded like a couple of flash-bangs that went off,” said Gordon. “It was a pretty scary thing.”

The screen grab above is from a video sent to us by Timothy Martin via Send It To 7.

Snow was taken into custody and arraigned shortly after in Potsdam town court on a second-degree murder charge.

He was taken to St. Lawrence County jail with no bail set. SUNY Potsdam officials say Snow has no affiliation with the college, either as a student, employee, or graduate.

Gordon said he knew Snow in passing.

“He had been explaining to me how he had just gone through rehab and he was doing really good, and, you know, I congratulated him for that,” said Gordon. “He just, I guess, he went another way. I don’t know.”

Michael J. Snow, 31, of Massena has been charged in fatal Potsdam shooting.
Michael J. Snow, 31, of Massena has been charged in fatal Potsdam shooting.(wwny)

Howell, of Patterson, N.Y., was found with gunshot wounds on the side of College Park Road around 6 p.m. She was rushed to Canton-Potsdam Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Officials have not disclosed whether Howell and Snow knew each other or if they have a motive.

“This is still a relatively fresh incident. It just occurred just a few days ago. So, this is an ongoing investigation and we’re not going to do anything that could endanger that investigation,” said Gary Pasqua, St. Lawrence County district attorney.

Monday, state and Department of Environmental police searched for Snow’s gun along the St. Regis’ west branch at State Highway 11B. They’ve outlined the road as part of Snow’s getaway. They haven’t said what sort of gun they’re looking for.

As of Sunday, state police were still asking for the public’s help with the case.

They want to hear from people who may have seen Snow and the vehicle he was driving on the day Howell was shot. It’s described as a gray Honda Civic with New York plates reading KVE2731.

Police say the car passed through Potsdam, Hopkinton, Malone, Westville, Hogansburg, and Massena between 5 and 8:30 p.m.

Anyone with information should call state police at 518-873-2750.

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