Rifle used in murder-suicide may be illegal in NY
SCHAGHTICOKE A military-style semiautomatic rifle that may be illegal in New York state was the weapon used in a murder-suicide early Sunday morning in Hemstreet Park, state police said.
An AR-15-type weapon was employed by Joe Fisher, 37, of Mechanicville, who shot his estranged wife’s new boyfriend and then himself to death at about 8:15 a.m. on South Hudson Avenue in Hemstreet Park, a small hamlet across the Hudson River from Mechanicville.
Fisher is accused of shooting Chris Cammuso, 24, also of Mechanicville, and then turning the gun against himself after he went to his wife’s grandmother’s house next door.
State police, Mechanicville city police and the Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Department all responded to the initial 911 call reporting multiple homicides.
Police plan to examine the gun to determine whether it would be covered by New York’s assault weapons prohibition, which has been in place since 1994.
“We are looking into factors that have to do with the weapon and whether it was legal to possess it,” said state police Lt. Robert Poisson.
A certified firearms examiner will be examining the gun to see if it is a banned weapon, Poisson said, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is tracing its ownership history.
Whether the crime would still have occurred if Fisher hadn’t had access to the high-powered weapon would be “speculation,” Poisson said.
State police said Fisher forced his way into his estranged wife’s home at 180 South Hudson Ave. around 8 a.m. Sunday, resulting in a domestic dispute. Fisher’s wife was identified as Jammie Fisher, 37.
Police said Cammuso was at the residence, and departed, only to return a short time later to retrieve his vehicle from the driveway. Fisher had also left the scene, but returned carrying the semiautomatic rifle, state police said. Fisher shot Cammuso to death while he was in the driveway. Fisher then went next door to the grandmother’s house at 176 South Hudson Ave., where he threatened to kill his wife and her grandmother, but instead shot himself, state police said. The Fishers’ two children, approximately 11 and 13 years old, were also there, but were not hurt.
Cammuso was identified on Facebook as a graduate of Stillwater High School who worked for Bast-Hatfield, a heavy construction contractor in Halfmoon.
Whether Fisher was the legal owner of the weapon he used is unclear. A federal ban on assault weapons has expired but a New York state ban enacted at the same time remains in force. However, a gun must meet several criteria spelled out in state law to be covered by the ban.
The rifle is similar to the kind used in the Newtown, Conn., school shootings and other high-profile mass shootings in recent years. Such weapons were banned nationwide from 1994 to 2004.
Again prohibiting ownership of such weapons is among various measures that have been discussed by gun control advocates in the wake of the horrific Connecticut shootings, though no formal proposals have been made to Congress.