COLONIE, N.Y. (AP) – A police officer with no prior history of domestic violence fatally shot his wife and one of their sons, and then set the family’s suburban Albany house on fire before killing himself, according to authorities who said Thursday they’re baffled by the veteran cop’s actions.
Surveillance video from a neighbor’s home shows that before the shootings on Tuesday, Israel Roman, 44, placed items for the couple’s 15-year-old son inside a car parked outside the house in Colonie, police said. The teen was at a high school basketball game when his family was killed.
Roman, who served the past 12 years on the town police force, used his service handgun to kill his wife, Deborah, 44, and their 10-year-old son, Nathan, said state police Capt. Robert Patnaude. Police believe Roman placed their bodies on the bed in the master bedroom, started a fire and shot himself.
Firefighters responding to the home discovered the bodies. Dispatchers had alerted them that it was the home of a police officer, and officials said the sound of what appeared to be exploding ammunition was heard at the scene.
Israel Roman was a hunter and had sold three of his guns at a local firearms dealer earlier Tuesday, police said.
Deborah Roman had a doctor’s appointment that morning and took the day off from her job as an English teacher in a nearby school district, authorities said.
The couple’s 15-year-old was being cared for by family members, officials said.
Colonie police officials described Israel Roman as a hardworking, decorated officer who had no history of behavioral problems prior to Tuesday.
“We had absolutely no indicators of any kind of misbehavior,” said Colonie Police Chief Jonathan Teale. “This was completely out of character for him.”
Roman served in the U.S. Army Reserve in the 1990s and previously worked as a corrections officer and sheriff’s deputy in neighboring Rensselaer County, Teale said.