Bullets At The Police House
Pacherille obviously was not deterred by a police station; he caught up with Lippitt inside the station house and fired two shots. Lippitt was hit in the arm while another shot came inches away from hitting Police Officer James Cox.
[On The Spot]
Cooperstown, New York is famous for being the hometown for Baseball's Hall of Fame--last week, a 16-year-old gunman was determined to give the town a very different reputation when he chased down a young African American and shot him inside a police station where the victim had fled seeking sanctuary.
It was around 3 P.M. when Anthony Pacherille, a Caucasian American sophomore student who attends Cooperstown Central High School, drove his vehicle around a park at least four times looking for prey. He eventually spotted three African-American males.
He exited his vehicle with a 22-caliber rifle in hand as his vehicle slowly rolled into a fence, because he did not even take it out of drive. The three African-American youths sensed trouble from the armed Pacherille; they fled and the gunman gave chase.
Two of the males ran and melted into a large crowd; their identities remain unknown at this time. Wesley Lippitt, 16, also a sophomore student at Cooperstown Central High ran to the Cooperstown Police Department across from the baseball Hall of Fame located on Main Street. Pacherille obviously was not deterred by a police station; he caught up with Lippitt inside the station house and fired two shots. Lippitt was hit in the arm while another shot came inches away from hitting Police Officer James Cox.
Cox, who had been seated, jumped to his feet, pulled out his own revolver and ordered Pacherille to drop his weapon. According to Officer Cox, Pacherille still stepped backward and then shot himself under the chin with the 22-caliber rifle. Officer Cox did not discharge his weapon. “If he had been out on patrol, this might have ended very differently,” said Diana Nicols, Cooperstown Police Chief.
Both youths were taken to Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital with non-life threatening wounds. Lippitt was treated and released while Pacherille remained in the hospital under police watch, but not yet arraigned. “I have not been notified yet as to an arraignment,” said Cooperstown Village Justice Leslie Friedman.
The Oneonta Daily Star on April 3 reported: "An official who declined to be identified said that when Pacherille was asked why he had shot Lippitt, he said he hated black people." It's unclear where the gunman was questioned -- but police officials aren't commenting on a motive or about Pacherille's condition.
"Investigators may file a hate crime charge," Nicols said when questioned whether Pacherille would be charged with a hate crime.
Communities such as Cooperstown that have a large Caucasian American population do not know how to act against racism when it arises and too often will begin to down play the criminal acts. The Mayor-elect Joseph J. Booan, Jr., said, “It’s certainly a tragic event.”
I spoke with Lippitt’s mother Tracy. “Physically he is doing fine,” she said, of her son. She did not want to elaborate on the racial motive of the shooting. “We really need to have our community heal and I don’t want anything right now; that’s the main focus, of just protecting our children and our community needs to kind'a come together before and the police need to make a statement before I can speak to you.”
How many more Anthony Pacheilles are out there undetected? Did he have a license to drive around with a 22-caliber rifle in his
vehicle? Does he listen to the Rush Limbaugh show? Calls made to the Pacheille’s home were not returned.
"I told them to charge him when he gets out,” said District Attorney John Muehl, about Pacheille. Muehl apparently hasn't heard about gunmen being arraigned while at a hospital bed.
One wonders whether such etiquette would be observed if the shoes were exchanged and Lippitt had been the shooter.
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