Schenectady shooting may have followed chase
Albany man dies from head wound after crashing car
SCHENECTADY An Albany man was shot and killed early Wednesday after an apparent car chase through the Mont Pleasant neighborhood.
The incident ended with the victim’s car plowing through an athletic field fence off Norwood Avenue behind Mont Pleasant Middle School just after midnight. A car that had been directly behind the victim’s car then fled, a witness said.
Killed was 24-year-old William Riddick. He was driving the car at the time he was shot, police said. He sustained a gunshot wound to the head and was pronounced dead later at Albany Medical Center.
Police found evidence of two shooting scenes, both in Mont Pleasant and apparently linked. The first was near the corner of First Avenue and Orchard Street, where shell casings were found, police spokesman Lt. Mark McCracken said.
A second set of shell casings was found near the corner of Norwood Avenue and Woolsey Street, near the location where Riddick lost control of his car and drove into the field. The two locations are about a mile apart.
Riddick’s car was originally headed in the direction of Michigan Avenue, away from the First and Orchard shell casings.
One of those to call police was Evette Rodriguez, who lives near the Norwood Avenue scene. She said Wednesday afternoon she was awake and near her window when she heard gunshots outside.
“I heard some shooting, and I looked out my window, and there was a car right in the back of the other one,” Rodriguez said, “real close up to him.”
Soon, she said, she heard an apparent passenger from the front car yelling “He’s shot! He’s shot!”
Investigators worked through the day Wednesday following up on leads, McCracken said.
The possibility one car was chasing the other “is a theory that we’re investigating,” he said, adding that police were searching for multiple vehicles in the case. McCracken declined to give descriptions of the cars police were seeking.
Police searched the athletic field, as well as neighborhood, throughout the day Wednesday, with police recruits from the Zone 5 Law Enforcement Training Academy called in to help. The recruits helped scour the field and walked several streets in the neighborhood. They could be seen walking from the crash site toward Chrisler Avenue, then turning right onto Chrisler.
Also aiding investigators are the city’s street surveillance cameras. McCracken said detectives are reviewing footage from the cameras. One camera was just two blocks from the crash site, at the corner of Norwood Avenue and Forest Road, along the likely path of the vehicles.
Records indicate Riddick was shot nearly five years ago in Albany. On Feb. 25, 2009, Riddick sustained a gunshot wound to the leg, newspaper and police records indicate. He told police he had a confrontation on the street with another man and the other man pulled a gun and shot him in the leg, police said then.
It was unclear if any arrest was ever made.
Since then, records show, Riddick served a short prison sentence for an attempted drug sale in Albany County and was released in June.
At the crime scene, police kept control of the athletic field for most of the day, waiting to give it a thorough search before handing it back over to the school district, McCracken said.
Schenectady schools Superintendent Laurence Spring noted the shooting on Twitter on Wednesday morning, reporting police had the scene secured and said school would run as scheduled.
McCracken said the recruits were helpful in both the searches of the field and neighborhood. They are five months into their six months of training and were supervised by police officers. If recruits saw something out of the ordinary, they pointed it out to officers, McCracken said.
“It gives them some hands-on experience and training,” he said.
Near the second shooting scene, Rodriguez said she thanked God no bullets went through her window.
“I’ve only been here a year,” she said, “but now I’m planning to move.”