ELLENVILLE, N.Y. -- The Ellenville community is trying to process Thursday’s murder-suicide that left three people dead.
The scene is cleared, caution tape down, cars from the incident removed, and all that’s left is the memories of the tragedy that unfolded there.
Thursday, local, county and state police rushed to Canal Lock apartments with word of a shooting.
Ellenville Police say Efrain Lopez, a school district employee and Village Board of Trustees member, followed the car that his longtime domestic partner Margarita Soto and her boyfriend Jose Cruz were in. Police say Lopez took a rifle out of his car and shot the two, then turned the gun on himself. Schools were on lockdown, but that was lifted when police determined there was no threat to staff or students.
Ellenville Village Mayor Jeff Kaplan says he knew the shooter for years, and is shocked at what happened.
“Nobody knew that what was building up inside of him could have led to this. And in some ways, those that knew him well, like myself, are looking back to see if we missed signs that something was happening,” Kaplan said. "I haven’t heard anyone that really said 'yeah, he was capable of doing something as horrendous as what happened here.' "
Ellenville Central School District Superintendent Lisa Wiles sent a letter to parents the day of the lockdown, saying in part, "We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life and our heartfelt condolences go out to the friends and family of everyone involved."
Those Spectrum News have talked to say the situation was a terrible surprise to those who knew them.