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Press & Sun-Bulletin ^ | Friday, July 5, 2002 | BY MARY MARGARET EARL, GEORGE BASLER AND BRAD HEATH

Posted on 07/06/2002 10:38:08 AM PDT by GRIFF'S GLOCK

Edited on 05/07/2004 7:55:11 PM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

KIRKWOOD -- A Broome County sheriff's deputy was shot and killed early Thursday after apparently confronting burglars who'd stolen guns from a Pennsylvania store, the Broome County sheriff said.

Deputy Kevin J. Tarsia, a 13-year sheriff's veteran, died in a park about one-half block from his home on Grange Hall Road. Tarsia, 36, is the only deputy killed in the line of duty since the sheriff's office was founded in 1806.

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TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; US: New York; US: Pennsylvania
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1 posted on 07/06/2002 10:38:08 AM PDT by GRIFF'S GLOCK
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Press & Sun-Bulletin

TOWN OF CHENANGO -- Police spent Friday looking for a man they think can help them learn more about the person or people who killed Deputy Kevin J. Tarsia.

But that man and a Chicago Bulls duffle bag are among the only clues in a case that has frustrated the Broome County Sheriff's Department for lack of evidence.

"There are a lot of ifs about this case," Broome County Sheriff David E. Harder said. "Until we catch the people involved, we won't have those answers."

Tarsia, 36, was found shot around 5 a.m. in a park about one-half block from his home in Kirkwood. Police said he may have surprised the person or people who stole an unidentified number of weapons from Mess's Fireworks in Great Bend, Pa., earlier that morning.

A stolen truck was used to smash open the front door of the store one hour before Tarsia was shot, police said.

Harder released a sketch Friday of a man who was seen at the fireworks store several days before the burglary.

Most of the store's regular customers have been interviewed by police, but the man in the sketch has not been located, Harder said.

"He's not a suspect," Harder said. "We don't know who he is, but he's been in there before."

The person, a black man in his late 20s, stands about 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs at least 160 pounds, Harder said.

Also found at the scene of the killing was a Chicago Bulls duffle bag, which contained several guns from the burglary. Harder said customers of the store in Great Bend had seen a similar bag in the store Sheriff David E. Harder said he believes Deputy Kevin J. Tarsia was driving to his home on Grange Hall Road when he turned into the park and surprised gun thieves who were transferring stolen weapons from a stolen truck to another vehicle.

before the burglary, though not in the possession of the man police are seeking.

Harder said he hopes anyone who knows something about the bag comes forward.

About 100 officers from 15 police agencies -- including the Binghamton police, the New York State Police, the Pennsylvania State Police, the FBI and the ATF -- are involved in the investigation.

But despite the intense investigation, police still don't know how many people were involved in the shooting, who they are or even what happened right before Tarsia was killed, because much of the evidence they need to answer those questions simply isn't there.

Harder said there's "no doubt" that a lack of physical evidence is hampering the investigation.

"We don't have too much to go on," Harder said. "I can't tell you the whole story of what happened because one of the people who was there is dead and we don't know who the other people are."

The deputy's .40-caliber Glock handgun was taken out of its holster, but Harder would not say whether the gun was recovered, or what type of gun was used to kill Tarsia.

Broome County Coroner Dr. Timothy Jones, who was at the scene but did not perform the autopsy on Tarsia, said it appeared that Tarsia was shot in the head.

The autopsy was performed Thursday at Albany Medical Center. Harder would not discuss the results.

More public officials came forward Friday to talk about the fact that Tarsia was alone when he was shot to death Thursday morning.

Broome County Legislator David L. Lindsey, who chairs the Public Safety and Emergency Services Committee, said the county should implement a policy requiring two officers in every patrol car.

"I would like to (see) a two-man car policy," Lindsey said. "But it's not my call. It's (Harder's.)"

Harder sets the policy but legislators can offer their input and allocate extra funds, if necessary, Lindsey said.

Lindsey is a retired sergeant from the Binghamton Police Bureau whose daughter, Cheri, was murdered in 1984.

"We control the purse strings," he said. "We can give him (the sheriff) an advisory resolution."

Lee Barta, a Binghamton patrolman, was the last Southern Tier police officer to die in the line of duty. Barta was shot and killed as he tried to make an arrest in 1995.

Tarsia's death weighed heavily on the minds of local law-enforcement officials, many of whom were thinking of Barta on Friday.

"This affects us all locally," said Joseph Zikuski, Binghamton's assistant police chief and Barta's first supervisor. "Right now I don't think reality has set in."

Most of the sheriff's department's cases have been put on hold and the state police have helped with road patrols, Harder said. A sheriff's office detective will be working with Pennsylvania State Police on the burglary of the fireworks shop.

"We're family," said Harder, as tears filled his eyes and as his lips quivered at a news conference Friday. "There are dangers 24 hours a day in being a police officer, but you don't think about it."

Tarsia was a 13-year veteran of the sheriff's office and was engaged. He lived with his fiancee on Grange Hall Road.

Family and friends are invited to calling hours from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday at the James V. DeMarco and Son Funeral Home at 737 Chenango St. in Port Dickinson.

Funeral and burial services will be held Tuesday

2 posted on 07/06/2002 10:55:43 AM PDT by GRIFF'S GLOCK
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Damn, that's in your area. Sorry to read this.

Condolences to Deputy Tarsia's family and fiancee.

3 posted on 07/06/2002 11:03:45 AM PDT by dighton
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To: dighton
He was a real good Guy, I have two good friends that worked nights with him. it really sucks.and they don't have much to go on.
4 posted on 07/06/2002 11:24:10 AM PDT by GRIFF'S GLOCK
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To: dighton
Im sorry,too. I hope they catch whoever is responsible. Cop Killers usually get the death penalty in PA. Maybe he can pal around with Mumia.
5 posted on 07/06/2002 11:26:05 AM PDT by cardinal4
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I am so sorry.

I think it's just awful that there's such a thing as sending men out on the line ALONE. I've never understood it.
6 posted on 07/06/2002 11:41:23 AM PDT by JudyB1938
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To: JudyB1938
In 1985 I had a small gas station in a northern W.Va. town of about 32,000 people and an outside pop machine had been turned over and showed evidence of being pried on to force entry.

When an officer showed up to check out my call he told me that they only had one officer on duty between midnight and 7:00 A.M. and the crooks knew it; therefor, property crimes such as this went largely unsolved.

7 posted on 07/06/2002 12:09:47 PM PDT by Old Professer
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To: JudyB1938
I grew up in the Binghamton area, it is generally very safe. That seems to be changing though, especially over the last 5-10 years. Every time I visit (I live in Michigan now) it seems to have degraded somewhat.
8 posted on 07/06/2002 12:11:33 PM PDT by NoKnownPurpose
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To: NoKnownPurpose
I can remember when Las Vegas used to be safe. So I know what you mean about the changing times.
9 posted on 07/06/2002 12:31:36 PM PDT by JudyB1938
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To: cardinal4
Since he was killed in NY, the chance of the death penalty being used is a lot less likely.
10 posted on 07/06/2002 1:18:48 PM PDT by LenS
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Sad, PA BUMP! Hope they killer(s) are caught soon.
11 posted on 07/06/2002 1:28:48 PM PDT by cake_crumb
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To: cake_crumb
Me to.
12 posted on 07/06/2002 1:40:59 PM PDT by GRIFF'S GLOCK
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They got the guys that did i just heard on the local news..I have to hand it to the local lawenforcement and the Feds they really worked their butts of to get these scumbags...
13 posted on 07/06/2002 8:13:30 PM PDT by GRIFF'S GLOCK
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Comment #14 Removed by Moderator

This is why we should still have hanging.
15 posted on 07/08/2002 12:48:30 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck
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To: Yehuda
Broome DA could seek death penalty in slaying


The three men accused of gunning down Broome County Sheriff's Deputy Kevin J. Tarsia on Thursday could be back in court as early as this afternoon.

Town of Kirkwood Justice Benjamin Weingartner said Sunday he will meet with a capital defender from Albany at 11 a.m. to determine who will represent Jeffrey A. Nabinger Jr. and David Sweat. The men, both 22, are charged with first-degree murder, a felony, in the shooting death of Tarsia, 36.

If attorneys are assigned, Weingartner said, he might summon the three to court for a meeting about noon.

A capital defender is involved because first-degree murder is a capital offense. That means if the men are convicted of the charge, District Attorney Gerald F. Mollen could ask jurors to sentence the men to death.

Mollen could not be reached for comment Sunday.

A county public defender, also scheduled to be at today's 11 a.m. meeting, will represent Shawn J. Devaul, 23. He is charged with third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a felony.

Devaul, Nabinger and Sweat were arraigned before Weingartner Saturday night.

Tarsia's brother Thomas, 44, said the arrests have given him some peace of mind. But, he said, nothing will help him get over what happened to his younger brother.

"What they did to him isn't human," Thomas Tarsia said Sunday evening. "I want all three of them to get the death penalty."

He said he believes Devaul, who sheriff's officials said was a bystander during the shooting, had a chance to stop it.

Devaul's family members said they hope for answers about the shooting today in court. They said they know nothing about the pre-dawn events that left Tarsia lying with 15 bullet wounds in Kirkwood's Grange Hall Park, and led to the arrest of Devaul and his two friends.

Devaul's half-sister, Dawn Edwards, 35, said she has not seen Devaul since police swooped in and arrested him Saturday near her Village of Greene home. She said Devaul was walking to the store with his girlfriend, Brandi Decker, 21, and the couple's 5-month-old daughter.

Decker described the arrest.

"We went to get pizza, and Tylenol for our daughter," Decker said. She and Devaul were pushing daughter Angel in a stroller, when they were surrounded by police.

"They had me up against the wall, and him up against the wall. My baby was in the middle of the street," Decker said.

Edwards said she saw the arrest from her front porch.

"I didn't know what was going on," she said. She said Devaul had not told her or his family about the deputy's death. She said she learned of details from police.

The three men had allegedly used a stolen pickup truck to steal guns in the burglary of Mess's Fireworks, a Great Bend, Pa., business. The three were transferring the weapons to a vehicle in the park when Tarsia apparently interrupted them, Broome County Sheriff David E. Harder has said.

"We're all in turmoil," Edwards said of her family's response to Devaul's arrest. "I'm just trying to figure out what happened."

Edwards described Devaul as a mild-mannered boy who had drifted from house to house since he graduated from Binghamton High School. She said he had been laid off from a temporary agency a few months ago but had expected to return to work today.

Edwards said Devaul has a 21-year-old sister in Binghamton. Edwards, Devaul and the younger sister were raised by a single mother. Edwards described their childhood as "normal" and said Devaul had never been in serious trouble at school or at home.

Edwards said she has known Nabinger and Sweat for many years. Although Nabinger and Sweat had been sentenced as teen-agers to intensive supervision probation for various burglary charges, Edwards said she cannot believe they killed a deputy.

"I've known them since they were little boys," she said.

Sweat, who lives on Foley Road in Kirkwood, was the first man arrested Saturday in connection with the killing, Undersheriff Gerald W. Kellar said. Authorities took Sweat into custody as he drove in Kirkwood.

Sweat's neighbors said they believe he lived in the two-story, white house at 300 Foley Road with at least four other people. Neighbors said they witnessed many cars driving in and out of the property every day, but never saw criminal behavior.

"They kept to themselves," neighbor Heather Wilmarth said.

Another woman said news of the shooting had frightened people in the normally placid neighborhood.

"It makes you nervous," said Catherine Contro, who was visiting her parents Sunday on Foley Road. "I'm glad they caught them."

Press & Sun-Bulletin

16 posted on 07/08/2002 1:07:22 AM PDT by GRIFF'S GLOCK
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I really hope they seek the death penalty in the slaying of this poor guy. these guys are just the scum of the earth.

here is the link to the last article oday/topstories/stories/to0708 02s4239.shtml

17 posted on 07/08/2002 1:11:58 AM PDT by GRIFF'S GLOCK
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Comment #18 Removed by Moderator

Great news - Excellent police work. I know the sense of urgency when a fellow LEO is killed needlessly. I am so pleased the scumbags are in jail.
19 posted on 07/08/2002 12:19:10 PM PDT by sandydipper
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To: Yehuda
Not only is lethal injection too good, whatever they decide to do will be too slow.

The fellow who tried to kill then President Roosevelt (and managed to kill Chicago Mayor Tony Cermak) was caught, arraigned, tried, convicted, sentenced and executed in less than one month.

Our priorities, our justice system is broken, and badly.

20 posted on 07/08/2002 12:24:49 PM PDT by Freedom4US
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