A young father with a long criminal history, including assault charges, fatally shot his 3-month-old son in front of state troopers yesterday morning, then was shot and critically wounded by officers.
Adam Theall, 21, was outside the home in rural Oneida County in upstate New York when troopers arrived after getting emergency calls around 9:30 a.m. that he had threatened to kill the child.
He fired a shotgun at the baby, Eithen Theall, then turned it on the three troopers who had arrived at the scene, according to State Police Capt. Francis Coots. They all fired at him.
"He was intent on killing his child," Coots said. "The report from 911 was that he was going to kill his child. As soon as the trooper got out of the car, he did it."
The boy was declared dead at a hospital.
Adam Theall, of nearby Rome, was hit several times and was in critical condition. Police had been called for domestic disputes in the past at the house, in a wooded, rural area of widely separated homes about 200 miles (320 kilometers) northwest of New York City. The child's mother was at the home during the attack.
"We did fire at him immediately after he shot the child," Coots said, adding that the troopers told Theall several times to drop the gun.
There were conflicting statements from police about whether Theall fired at the troopers.
"It's a shock to know someone personally that would do something like that, but I'm not surprised by what happened," neighbor Amanda Westcott, who has known Theall since he was 16, told the Observer-Dispatch of Utica. "I've seen him in action."
There were frequent disturbances at the home, Westcott said.
"That's all you could hear, is profanity and screaming and things hitting the wall," she told the newspaper.
Two other women were at the house with the child's mother when Theall opened fire. There were two other children younger than 5 in the house.
Theall was on probation for second-degree vehicular assault and had also been charged with misdemeanor assault and endangering the welfare of a child.