Cobleskill PD thanks 3 officers for Wal-Mart response


By Patsy Nicosia

When three Cobleskill Police Department officers responded to a 911 call that someone was waving a gun around Wal-Mart, they feared the worst.
And by their quick-thinking, likely kept it from happening.
For that, Officers Joelle West, Maynard Sullivan III, and Dan Smith received commendations from Police Chief Rich Bialkoswki and thank-yous and "a little something" from Mayor Linda Holmes in a brief ceremony last Tuesday.
"They're heroes," Mayor Linda Holmes said. "In a time when there's so much public distrust...we have a lot to be proud of."
Chief Bialkowski cited the three officers bravery and good judgment "in a job very well done."
The incident occurred on July 12 when a 911 call reported a man pointing a handgun at Wal-Mart customers.
Store employees kept police updated about the location of the man and tried to keep him away from customers until Officer West entered the store and confronted him at gunpoint; he appeared to have a black semi-automatic pistol tucked inside his waistband, Chief Biaklowski said at the time.
Officers Sullivan and Smith-who was just going off-shift and took his own car to the store-also responded.
Police said the man, who turned out to be a 13-year-old boy who appeared much older, told them he "wanted to kill people."
Police ordered the boy to turn around, put his hands up, and get down on his knees and he complied.
He was taken into custody and the weapon-determined to be a pellet gun that he allegedly had stolen from the store just prior to the incident-was secured without incident or injuries.
The teen was taken for a mental health evaluation and charged with petty larceny, third-degree menacing, criminal possession of a firearm and criminal mischief.
Police said at the time that the teen hadn't gotten pellets for the gun, but stressed that if he hadn't complied with Officer West's request-or if someone with a legal pistol permit had been in the store-the incident could have ended with a shooting.