Among the things for which we are thankful this week is that no one was injured or killed in the shooting that occurred in Cooperstown on Monday.
We are also happy to note that the capture of Barry M. Renert by police in Richmond, Va., on Tuesday provided a peaceful end to the manhunt that ensued after Renert allegedly threatened a shopkeeper with a gun.
Police say Renert, 62, a former employee at the Seventh Inning Stretch memorabilia store at 137 Main St. in Cooperstown, dressed all in black, wore a mask and confronted store owner Vincent Carfagno with a gun. Carfagno fired his own weapon at Renert, who fled, according to police.
Law enforcement sources said Renert had a grudge against Carfagno after the latter reported to village police earlier this year that Renert had stolen money from his shop while working there.
By all accounts, authorities performed their duties in a textbook fashion with an emphasis on the safety of local residents. Entrance and exit roads into the village were blocked off, police units responded quickly, Bassett Medical Center was put on a lockdown, and frequent updates were provided to the news media to keep the public informed.
Praise must also be given to the manhunt for Renert that involved the Cooperstown Police Department, Richmond Police Department, Otsego County Sheriff’s Office, FBI in Albany, state police and district attorney investigators.
The FBI apparently tracked Renert by homing in on his cell phone. He was surrounded by police while on line to board a Greyhound bus in Richmond, and surrendered without incident.
Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl said Renert, a former Richfield Springs resident, is expected to be charged with menacing and first-degree burglary.
Renert owns a house in Richfield Springs with his wife, Rebecca Sweet, according to county records. Sweet recently obtained an order of protection, forbidding Renert from contacting her. State police said in September that Renert violated that order, and he was briefly jailed at the Otsego County Correctional Facility.
There will be those on the side of gun rights who will say that the incident in the store supports their contention that everyone should have the right to carry a concealed weapon and that Carfagno’s life might have been saved by his possessing a gun.
On the other side of the issue is the fact that someone who has as checkered a past as Renert was able to obtain a weapon. Also, a customer or bystander could have been wounded or killed by the bullet fired by Carfagno that missed Renert.
But those are arguments for another time. For now, let’s all be grateful for a peaceful end to a scary episode.