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April 7, 2010

Cooperstown dealing with different type of attention



COOPERSTOWN _ The story of one teen shooting another in Cooperstown has drawn media attention from beyond the rural boundaries of Otsego County.

The incident has been reported regionally by the Utica Observer-Dispatch, statewide by various television stations and nationally through The Associated Press and The New York Times.

On Friday, Anthony Pacherille allegedly shot Wesley Lippitt, who was seeking refuge in the village police station across the street from the National Baseball Hall of Fame, then shot himself in the chin. Lippitt was treated for a wound to his upper left arm, and Pacherille remained hospitalized at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown on Tuesday.

Authorities are investigating to determine if the incident was racially motivated because Pacherille is white and Lippitt is black.

The Cooperstown police chief referred questions about the incident to the Otsego County district attorney.

But former Mayor Carol Waller was quick to defend her village.

``I don't know of any bigotry,'' she said.

Plans had been set for village officials to have a media conference Monday afternoon. But at 12:01 p.m., Waller said she was no longer mayor and the newly sworn-in mayor canceled the conference.

However, a New York Times reporter from New York City expected the media conference, Waller said, so she and Republican Mayor Joseph Booan Jr. met with the writer. They didn't talk about the case but did talk about ``how wonderful Cooperstown is and how shocked'' the community is, Waller said, noting that she said she believes in talking to the media.

``They assume more if you don't talk to them,'' Waller said.

The incident of teenage violence is painful and challenging for Cooperstown, said Maggie Barnes of MB Communications in Oneonta, but the national spotlight on the village will dim unless the story deepens.

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