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Police: Soldier charged with murder after killing wife, NY state trooper

This photo provided by the New York State Police shows Justin Walters, a U.S. Army soldier who is charged with killing his wife and fatally shooting Trooper Joel Davis on Sunday, July 9, 2017. Davis was responding to reports of shots fired at the Walters' rural upstate property in Theresa, N.Y., authorities said Monday, July 10. (New York State Police via AP)

THERESA, N.Y. (WHAM) - A New York State Trooper was shot and killed Sunday evening near Watertown while responding to a domestic dispute, according to State Police.

The suspect's wife was also found dead at the scene.

State Police said around 8 p.m. Sunday, Trooper Joel Davis responded to a call of shots fired at 34371 County Route 46 in the Town of Theresa, near Fort Drum.

Trooper Davis was approaching the home when troopers say he was shot once and killed. At a news conference Monday afternoon, police said Davis was wearing a bulletproof vest while responding to the scene, but was hit in a gap in the body armor.

State Police have identified the suspect as Justin Walters, 32, an active duty Army Infantryman. Walters' wife was identified as 27-year old Nichole Walters. She was found shot dead in the driveway of their home with multiple gunshot wounds.

A third victim, Rebecca Finkle, was also found shot at the scene. Her injuries were described as non-life threatening. Police believe she was a friend of Nichole's and was at the home when Justin allegedly shot and killed his wife and Davis. Two of Finkle's children were at the home at the time of the shooting; none of them were injured.

State Police recovered "multiple weapons" from the scene; it remains unclear which weapon was used in the shootings.

Walters was arrested and charged with one count of first-degree murder.

Trooper Davis was 36 years old and was from Evans Mills. He graduated from the 199th session of the Basic School on May 29, 2013, and was originally assigned to Troop D in Watertown, before receiving his assignment in Philadelphia.

Davis is survived by his wife and three children.

"He was a good husband and a father," said State Police Superintendent George Beach. "He coached youth athletics and was a commissioner in the youth baseball league. These are valuable members of the community and this is a terrible loss in the North Country for everybody."

Governor Andrew Cuomo released a statement early Monday morning in response to the news of Trooper Davis' death.

"The entire New York family grieves today for Trooper Joel Davis, who was shot and killed in the line of duty Sunday night in Theresa, Jefferson County.
"Trooper Davis served as a member of the New York State Police for four years and his death is yet another sad reminder of the risks law enforcement officers face each day in order to protect our communities and serve the residents of this great state.
"I ask all New Yorkers to keep Trooper Davis' family, loved ones and colleagues in the state police in their prayers during this incredibly difficult time."


Gov. Cuomo directed all state government buildings to fly their flags at half-staff beginning Wednesday, July 10. The flags will remain at half staff until Davis is interred.

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