For Elsa Reese of Gilboa, the week started routinely enough: On Monday morning, she made sure her two daughters, one a senior in high school, the other in eighth grade, both got off to school on time.
But then the day turned into anything but a routine one. She would learn later that morning that her 53-year-old husband, David, was being questioned in connection with the shooting death of a co-worker at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection offices in Kingston.
Both David Reese and the shooting victim, Aron Thomas, 33, of Olivebridge, worked for the watershed protection agency in skilled maintenance jobs. Within a few hours after the killing, Kingston Police would charge David Reese, a veteran of the U.S. Navy with a valid pistol permit authorizing him to own two handguns, with second-degree murder.
Elsa Reese told The Daily Star she had never heard her husband speak of Aron Thomas, a married father of two young children. And if he was having disagreements with anyone at work, she said, he didn’t talk about it.
“I feel very, very sorry for his family,” she said of Reese, her soft voice quivering with emotion. “They lost him and I lost my husband. My life is in turmoil. I don’t understand what is going on.”
A native of Guatemala, the mother of two said she met Reese a little more than 20 years ago while he was stationed in California. This year was supposed to be remembered as their 20th wedding anniversary, not the year he would need to mount a defense to a murder prosecution.
She said her husband, an electrician, earned an associate’s degree from the State University at Delhi in 1997, after which he landed a job with DEP.
They moved to Schoharie County, she recalled, because they wanted to raise a family in an area surrounded by beautiful vistas and rolling hills.
“We wanted to be where it was quiet and safe, away from the crime off New York City,” she said.
Elsa Reese said she was struggling to understand what took place Monday in Kingston, and had no explanation for a possible motive.
In Kingston, the DEP building at 71 Smith Ave. was re-opened Monday and the 190 or so employees assigned there returned to their jobs. Grief counselors were on hand to console colleagues of Thomas and Reese, and are expected to be available for employees for at least the next week.
“They are here to talk with people and to help them process their grief,” said Adam Bosch, a DEP spokesman.
On the other side of the Catskill Forest Preserve, 55 miles away, Elsa Reese said she was having a hard time processing her own grief.
“I have no idea why this happened,” she said. “I never heard of this person. The whole thing is a shock to me.”