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April 22, 2013

Area saw its own armed standoffs 30 years ago


The Gladstones eventually went to court. In the meantime Lawrence Gladstone refused food until he was reunited with his wife, or died. The fast lasted for 11 days. On June 13, Lawrence Gladstone pleaded “not guilty” to all 21 counts against him. Judge Irad S. Ingraham granted individual trials to the couple.

The Gladstones were sent to state prison in 1984. Christine was discharged in June 1991. Lawrence was paroled in April 1993 but died in October of that year.

Only a few months later, on Thursday, July 14, “A Stamford man armed with a rifle took a woman clerk hostage and held her in the clock tower of the village hall for more than three hours before a police sharpshooter wounded him,” The Daily Star reported the next day.

Philip W. Constable, then 28, taunted police and fired numerous random shots from two open windows of the clock tower, as he held village clerk Harriet Shipman hostage.

“Where are the cops,” he shouted. “Let’s get it on.” He dared police to kill him throughout the afternoon, repeatedly offering himself as an easy target.

Local residents said Constable was despondent about being jobless for three years, breaking up with his girlfriend, and being evicted from his apartment.

Constable began his standoff shortly after 1 p.m., after walking out of a local store with a rifle and three boxes of ammunition, telling the propriete   r to “charge it.” Several people watched as he loaded the rifle, fired it skyward, and then told the local residents to “clear out” before entering the village hall.

After some time in the clock tower, Constable appeared at the front doorway, telling police that if they didn’t shoot him, he would harm Shipman. A state police sergeant fired, hitting Constable in the wrist. He staggered back into the village hall, and police closed in and seized him. Shipman was unharmed.

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