A state trooper responding to a call about a suicidal and possibly armed man barricaded in his home near the Pennsylvania border early Monday was fatally shot along with the man, a school principal, officials said.
Trooper Nicholas Clark was among responders to a 3:30 a.m. 911 call from the estranged wife of Steven Kiley, state police First Deputy Superintendent Chris Fiore said at a news conference attended by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Clark, 29, was fatally shot during the response, and Kiley, 43, was later found dead with a gunshot wound inside the home in Erwin.
Kiley was principal of Bradford Central School, which has 280 students in grades K-12, according to the state Department of Education. A message left at the school was not immediately returned.
Clark, of the hamlet of Troupsburg in Steuben County, was a two-time state wrestling champion and standout football player at Canisteo-Greenwood High School. He spent a year at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro on a wrestling scholarship before transferring to Alfred University, where he played football. He was a two-time All-America honoree and held the school record for career tackles at 377 until 2017.
"He was the toughest kid I ever had an opportunity to coach," said Alfred head coach Bob Rankl, who has held coaching positions at the school for 20 years. "He was a great player, and he was great leader — a guy that always did things the right way."
Clark graduated with a degree in environmental studies in December 2011 and tried out for the Buffalo Bills the following May. He was invited as a free agent to the team's spring minicamp in 2012.
Clark graduated from the New York State Police Academy in 2015 and was assigned to barracks in Ithaca and then Auburn.
"He transferred back here to the Bath barracks in August 2017, where he was very proud to serve the citizens that he called friends and neighbors, to try to give back to the community," state police Maj. Richard Allen said.
Cuomo, a Democrat, called Clark "a stellar trooper with an extraordinary record." He ordered flags across the state to be flown at half-staff until Clark's internment.
The troopers' union said it would help with arrangements for the funeral and Clark's family.
"Trooper Clark is a hero who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of serving and protecting others," said Thomas H. Mungeer, president of the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association.
The shooting, near SUNY Corning Community College, drew a large police presence throughout the morning. A procession of dozens of state police cars with lights flashing followed the coroner's vehicle on Route 17 carrying the body of the fallen trooper to a hospital in Binghamton.
This marks the second time a New York state trooper was killed responding to a domestic call in just under a year. Trooper Joel Davis was fatally shot July 9, 2017, by an Army soldier as he responded to reports of gunfire at the soldier's home near Fort Drum. The soldier also killed his wife and wounded another woman before surrendering to troopers.
Davis, 36, had been the first New York trooper fatally shot in the line of duty in 10 years.