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Man Dies On Street

By Jeanne Sager
CALLICOON — December 28, 2007 — The silence of Christmas night in Callicoon was pierced by a single gunshot.
The first call in to the 911 Center in White Lake reported shots fired on Upper Main Street.
The second solved the mystery.
Ed Gabriel, a 2001 graduate of Sullivan West who grew up in Bethel and has been living just over the river in Pennsylvania, was dead.
Catherine Scott and Brock Lady didn’t hear the shot over the surround sound of “National Treasure 2” at the Callicoon Theatre.
The Hortonville couple departed for their truck, parked in front of the antiques store down the street, and were driving home when Scott noticed something off.
“You know when something in the back of your head just says something isn’t right?” Scott asked.
There were a few teenagers on the sidewalk in front of Stewart Murphy Funeral Home.
Across the street was a car, a Kia, with the door wide open.
Scott thought the teens had been messing around.
Then she saw the man’s body lying beside the car.
“I told Brock, ‘Turn around, let’s go back,’” she recalled.
Jumping from the truck, Scott said all she could think was that the man had suffered a heart attack and every second counted.
Lady’s mind was on the same track – he parked the truck but left it running, jumping out to follow Scott in case they had to lift the man into their vehicle and race him up Route 97 to Grover Hermann Hospital.
It was too late.
The single shot had snuffed out the life of Gabriel, 26, of Equinunk, Pa.
State Police Senior Investigator Mike Orrego said investigators have been able to piece together a scene between Gabriel and his ex-girlfriend that evidently played out while the movie was still rolling.
Out on the street Gabriel was trying to convince the ex-girlfriend of his love, Orrego concluded.
The woman, a Callicoon resident, spurned his advances, and Gabriel pulled out a sawed-off shotgun.
“She’s a lucky girl,” Orrego said. “If she was a little slower and wasn’t too quick thinking, we would be talking a murder/suicide here.”
Instead the girl ran for her family’s home nearby, and the family called 911 with the first report – shots fired.
Police have concluded Gabriel turned the gun on himself, aiming the 20-gauge shotgun at his upper torso and pulling the trigger.
When they arrived, they found what Scott had seen – Gabriel lying, dead, between the car registered to his mother and the Jersey barrier that separates Upper Main Street from the long-ago burned Becker’s Pharmacy building.
“Right there at his feet was a sawed-off shotgun,” Orrego said.
The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office has had past reports of domestic conflict between Gabriel and the woman, according to Undersheriff Eric Chaboty.
He was arrested in September on aggravated harassment charges – for harassing the ex-girlfriend and her mother.
During questioning, Gabriel admitted to slashing the mother’s tires in July, prompting another arrest for criminal mischief, Chaboty said.
A restraining order, signed by Town of Bethel Justice Kevin Rhyne, stating Gabriel was not to contact the woman wasn’t due to expire until March.
He wasn’t supposed to be on the street near her home on Tuesday evening.
Scott and Lady were saddened by the scene, although Scott admitted relief at the news that police had ruled it a suicide.
“An act of violence in a small town kind of sends a ripple,” Scott said. “It was surreal – but I was more fixated on that he was murdered.
“Once we realized it wasn’t a murder, it was just so sad,” she continued. “Christmas is supposed to be the one day of complete love and home…I just feel so bad for his family.”
Pronounced dead at the scene by Coroner Tom Warren, Gabriel was taken to Catskill Regional Medical Center in Harris for an autopsy.

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