Tuesday’s Pillar Point shooting reminds neighbor of 1987 killings

Published: May. 18, 2023 at 5:03 PM EDT
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PILLAR POINT, New York (WWNY) - Tuesday’s shooting on Pillar Point is weighing heavily on the minds of neighbors and police who were there.

The sirens on Tuesday night reminded resident Richard Dodge of the sirens from a Pillar Point shootout in 1987, which cost the life of Dexter Police Chief Samuel Johnson.

“For a second time in ‘x’ number of years, I’ve slept with a loaded gun next to my bed,” said Dodge.

He says on Tuesday night when he heard about a man firing shots at officers and a house up in flames, it gave him a familiar feeling from 36 years ago.

In September of 1987, Chief Johnson responded to Pillar Point after reports that shots were fired. One man was already dead. The shooter, Stuart Moss, then gunned down Chief Johnson in an ambush.

“I had to go through three roadblocks. And two people are killed, and I have to load up a hunting rifle in order to protect myself and my family. You know, you don’t sleep really good,” said Dodge.

Flash forward to this Tuesday when shots were fired at officers, allegedly by Nathan Krump, and his house went up in flames. No lives were lost.

Jefferson County Sheriff Pete Barnett says officers are trained to stay focused and alert at active crime scenes. Meanwhile, after an incident like this, counseling is available for officers.

“A lot of people in the general public think that we have this body armor on with the uniform and that we can handle anything. I’ll tell you what, we have hearts, big hearts, and we have emotions and we have a lot of caring for everyone in our community,” said Barnett.

Barnett says it’s important to create a safe space for officers to clear their minds, especially in this case, where officers said in written statements that they could hear the bullets whizzing overhead.

“It’s very harrowing, very traumatic,” he said.

Barnett says he’s proud of all the deputies, officers and state troopers on the scene that night “because if that call came in again today, we would do it all over again.”

Krump was charged with attempted murder. The investigation is ongoing.