Timeline shows wait for ambulance in fatal OPD shooting

Sarah Eames | The Daily StarAn Oneonta ambulance is shown parked in the bay of the Oneonta Public Safety Building on Main Street on Thursday, April 15.

Oneonta Police called for an ambulance five minutes after an officer shot a 23-year-old man on the front lawn of his River Street residence Tuesday, April 6, according to a timeline pieced together from multiple firsthand accounts.

Timestamped footage captured by a neighbor’s home security system showed OPD Sgt. Ralph Pajerski shoot Tyler Green twice at 1:14 p.m.

OPD called into Otsego County Dispatch to report shots fired at 1:16 p.m., according to Robert O’Brien, director of Otsego County 911 Communications.

The two officers on scene requested backup during the same call. Otsego County Sheriff’s deputies, New York State Police and the Oneonta Town Constable were all dispatched to the scene in accordance with county protocol, according to O’Brien.

At 1:19 p.m., OPD called into Dispatch for a second time to report that the scene was secure and to request EMS, according to O’Brien, who said the order of events was “absolutely” common procedure.

“We obviously don’t want our EMS and fire departments in danger,” he said. 

Two Oneonta ambulances and the chief’s car were reported arriving on scene at 1:20 p.m., O’Brien said. A LifeNet helicopter was called two minutes later.

Though he said he could not recall the exact time he was dispatched to the scene, acting Oneonta Police Chief Christopher Witzenburg told The Daily Star on Thursday, April 8, that EMS was on standby and that the ambulances arrived “right on his heels.”

Witzenburg did not return two cellphone calls seeking further comment Thursday, April 15.

Crews on the ambulance transporting Green reported arriving at A.O. Fox Hospital, about 1.7 miles from the River Street residence, at 1:31 p.m., according to O’Brien. At 1:33 p.m., LifeNet landed at the helipad at the northwest corner of the FoxCare Center lot, where another Oneonta ambulance transported the crew the approximately 1.4 miles west to the hospital.

Otsego County Dispatch has no record of what time the helicopter took off or landed in Albany, O’Brien said.

The cause and exact time of Green’s death has not been made public. His sister, Oneonta resident Shelby Mochrie, told The Daily Star that Green died in a medivac helicopter en route to Albany Medical Center hours after the shooting.

Mochrie and Green’s mother, Rachel Calvey, with whom he shared the residence, said she was at work when the dispute broke out and her son was shot.

Calvey and Mochrie said they were appalled with the police presence in the emergency room once they arrived.

“That wall of glass in the E.R.? All you could see was a wall of police officers, just standing there,” Mochrie said. “Hands on their hips, just chatting.”

Mochrie and Calvey criticized what they described as the inattentiveness of medical personnel in the hospital.

“It’s not like what you see on TV,” Mochrie said. “There was nobody rushing around trying to save his life. They just intubated him and left him there.”

The pair said they were grateful for the “true compassion and kindness” showed by one nurse, Diane Earl.

“She asked me if I wanted to see my son,” Calvey recalled. “I did, and I got to tell him I love him. One of the few comforts I have is my son died knowing I love him.”

The initial call for police assistance at the scene of an reported domestic dispute between Green and his girlfriend, Caitlyn McLean, at 48 River St. “did not originate as a 911 call,” O’Brien said.

McLean’s sister, Charity Thomas, who said she was at the residence with both parties in the hours leading up the shooting, said she drove to the Oneonta police station to report the ongoing domestic dispute in person using a series of recordings she captured on her cellphone.

“Yes, I recorded almost everything that day,” Thomas said. “Any time I stopped recording was when I thought that maybe they were going to kiss and make up. Eventually I’d have to start recording again because they would argue again and he would say things that I thought the police would need to see.”

“Tyler would not let my sister and (their son) leave the house,” she continued. “Since Tyler thought that I was agreeing with everything he was saying and did not fight back and start problems with him that I might just be on his side, when in reality, I was trying to stay as calm as possible so that I could eventually get what I needed and go to the police to help my sister and nephew.”

As she drove the three-quarters of a mile to the police station, Thomas said, she told Green and McLean over FaceTime that she was headed to McDonald’s to grab lunch for everyone and even feigned taking food orders.

“I played some of the recordings for (the police) and they told me that they were on their way to the house because there was a child involved and he was making death threats,” she said. “I got scared, because my sister was on FaceTime with me — I muted it so she couldn’t hear me and turned my camera off so she couldn’t see me — and she was telling me that Tyler had a knife, he was going to kill her and himself if I were to go to the police.”

“At some point, Tyler asked my sister to ask me to turn my camera on so he could see that I was actually at McDonald’s. I panicked, I heard screaming and crying, I rushed in my car and drove back to the house, all while still on video with my sister,” Thomas continued. “I heard the police in the background screaming ‘Drop the knife!’ multiple times. I heard my sister screaming and crying, I heard the baby crying.”

Thomas described seeing Green “laying on the ground facedown, cuffed” when she arrived on scene, pulling in behind the police cars that had started to swarm the area.

“My sister was holding their son, just staring at him,” she said. “I could tell she was in complete shock and worried.”

The incident remains under investigation by the Office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James, which has not released any details or updates.

Sarah Eames, staff writer, can be reached at seames@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7213. Follow her @DS_SarahE on Twitter.

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