Two dead in murder-suicide in Irondequoit, NY

Two dead in murder-suicide in Irondequoit, NY
Two dead in murder-suicide in Irondequoit, NY

“I just want everyone to know that … the people in this family have lost a grandfather and also a grandson.”

An Irondequoit family lost two members in a murder-suicide that began early Thursday morning at 500 Pinegrove Avenue and ended early Thursday afternoon on a hiking trail in Letchworth State Park, 50 miles away.

At 5:38 a.m., Irondequoit police responded to a call from a hysterical person who had been called to the home and said, “There was blood everywhere,” Irondequoit Police Chief Scott Peters said at an early evening news conference.

Once there, officers found 80-year-old Joseph Deponceau behind the front door.

“He was obviously dead and appeared to have suffered a gunshot wound to the upper body,” Peters said.

Deponceau’s girlfriend was the one who called 911 and was unharmed.

She told police what happened and identified the suspect as Deponceau’s grandson, Andrew Vahey, 24, of 522 Pinegrove Ave.

Her report was backed up by home surveillance video.

Officers surrounded 522 Pinegrove and were able to contact the only person in the house, Vahey’s roommate, around 7:20 a.m. He told police he had received text messages from Vahey saying he had just killed his grandfather and was going to kill himself.

After identifying Vahey’s car, Irondequoit police issued an alert and New York State Park Police found the vehicle in Letchworth Park.

Several more law enforcement officers subsequently arrived at the park and discovered Vahey on Trail 18 around 12:30 p.m., armed with what appeared to be a long gun, Peters said.

The officers tried to make contact with him, but he immediately shot himself with the gun, Peters said. Attempts to save his life were unsuccessful.

Peters said there have been recent disputes between Deponceau and Vahey over property and that officers responded to a 911 call last week about family problems stemming from a dispute over parking on the lawn.

“That’s it. We never had any problems before,” Peters said.

He said police did not know why Vahey went to Letchworth and said he had no known connections to the area.

In addition to emphasizing how rare this incident was in Irondequoit, Peters said, “I want everyone to know that … the people in this family lost a grandfather and also a grandson. In addition to the tragedy that does not normally occur in Irondequoit, you have to realize that this is a family that is suffering extremely today.”

The park, which was closed during the incident, has now reopened.

Reporter Marcia Greenwood handles general assignments. Send story tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @MarciaGreenwood.

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