Fort Drum Soldier Accused of Shooting Trooper, Wife to Death in Jefferson County

Fort Drum Soldier Accused of Shooting Trooper, Wife to Death in Jefferson County

Overview

By Iris St. Meran

A New York state trooper and another woman were both shot and killed Sunday night in the town of Theresa. The suspect, 32-year-old Justin Walters was in court in LeRay Town Court Monday morning.

THERESA, N.Y. — The investigation continues into the shooting death of a New York state trooper Sunday night in Jefferson County.

It happened shortly after 8 p.m. at a home on Route 46 in the town of Theresa.

State police say Trooper Joel Davis was responding to a call of shots fired during a domestic incident at that home.

Trooper Davis was approaching the house when he was shot and killed.

The suspect, 32-year-old Justin Walters (pictured left), surrendered to other state troopers without incident.

Police later found Walter’s wife, 27-year-old Nichole Walters, dead at the scene. Fort Drum Public Affairs Office has since confirmed she was a “young mother.”

“The state police [are] doing a phenomenal job of holding it together. They are really doing a great job of holding it together. This is really going to be tough for all involved in the coming weeks,” said Jefferson County District Attorney Kristyna Mills.

Justin Walters is an active duty Army infantryman, stationed at Fort Drum. He was brought to LeRay Town Court to be arraigned Monday morning, but court proceedings were put on hold after Walters was unable to answer the judge’s questions.

Walters is facing charges of first and second-degree murder. He is now expected to be arraigned on Wednesday at the time of his preliminary hearing.

Authorities still have not confirmed what type of weapon he was armed with at the time of the shooting, or exactly how his wife died.

Trooper Davis, of Evans Mills, was 36 years old. He was a four-year veteran of the state police, and is survived by his wife and three children.

Fort Drum Public Affairs says Walters is from Michigan. He is a staff sergeant in the 10th Mountain Division’s 1st Brigade, with 10 years at Fort Drum. He was deployed to Afghanistan once in 2009 for a year, and again in 2011 for another 12 months. He was awarded many honors in the Army including badges, ribbons and medals.

Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division Senior Commander Major General Walter Piatt released a statement saying:

“Trooper Davis is a hero. It takes an uncommon valor to run toward acts of terrible violence, to sacrifice for the safety of strangers. The deaths of a young mother and this brave officer are a terrible tragedy and we are deeply affected by their loss.”

A statement from the governor reads, in full:

“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.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo is also ordering flags on all state government buildings be flown at half-staff in honor of Trooper Davis.

Cuomo also released a statement expressing his condolences to Davis’s family, saying:

“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.”

State police will hold a news conference Monday afternoon at 1 p.m. with the latest on the investigation.