Post Classifieds

Student shot dead downtown

By Ted Bean and Matt Arco
On December 23, 2008

A University at Albany student died on Tuesday Oct. 21 after being shot once in the head in downtown Albany late Monday night.

Richard Bailey, a 22-year-old senior, was walking alone at about 11:20 p.m. when he was shot in front of 103 South Lake St., said Albany Police Detective James Miller.

Bailey was taken to Albany Medical Center after a passing motorist saw him lying on the ground and called 911, Miller said. Bailey was taken off life support Tuesday afternoon.

"It was a tragic day," said Christine Bouchard, UAlbany's vice president of student success. "I've been here for about 26 years and this is probably one of the saddest days I've ever had at this university."

Albany Police did an extensive search of the area and were unable to find any suspects following the shooting, Miller said. No motive is known at this time. A person in a hooded sweatshirt was seen fleeing the area on a bicycle by a UAlbany student who lives in the neighborhood and declined to be named for fear of his personal safety. The student was walking in the area and heard the gunshot before seeing the bicycle speed away.

A local church is offering $10,000 in reward money. The Rev. Charlie Muller of Victory Church on Quail St. said $5,000 is being offered for finding the gun, and the rest of the money will go to anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest.

"I'm a man of action," Muller said. "We could do something to make this world a better place."

UAlbany students were informed of the shooting in an 8 a.m. e-mail from UPD Police Chief J. Frank Wiley. The SUNY NY-Alert system was not used to tell students of the incident because it occurred off-campus, Bouchard said.

The scene of the shooting was gruesome the morning after the incident.

"It wasn't pretty," said Dr. Bob Wishnoff who works in a building next door to where Bailey was shot. Wishnoff, who appeared shaken by the shooting, thought Bailey would have had brain damage had he survived. "With what was out on the street, he's lucky he's dead. His brains were out on the street," he said.

Wishnoff, a UAlbany graduate who has practiced mental health in that location for the last 30 years, said the only crimes he remembers are car break-ins that occurred eight or nine years ago.

Most of the houses nearby are filled with law, medical, and graduate students, Wishnoff said.

Bailey, who was studying sociology and criminal justice, was in his last semester at UAlbany. He had been studying to become a police officer, said his friend Derek Nagengast, a UAlbany senior. "It's just crazy. I really don't know what could have motivated it," Nagengast said. "It's not like he was doing stupid stuff, it's not like he was in a gang or any crap like that."

Bailey who was known to his friends as either "Rick" or "Bailey" was watching Monday Night Football before walking home, Bouchard said.

Bailey, from Wantagh N.Y., was a three-sport athlete at General Douglas Macarthur High School in Levittown N.Y., according to the Facebook group, "In Memory of Rick Bailey..1986-2008." The group had 1,423 members as of last Sunday night.

The UAlbany community is now dealing with the death of a student. Administrators and police hosted a safety forum on Tuesday night in the Campus Center. Officers from UPD and Albany Police discussed their concern for students' safety downtown at the forum. Bouchard and UAlbany Interim President George Phillip offered their condolences.

A candlelight vigil was held last Wednesday outside the Campus Center at the small fountain.

Student Association President Dan Truchan said he was sad to hear of Bailey's death.

"It saddens me that a student who had so much potential and was on the verge of starting their life would be struck down and killed," said Student Association President Dan Truchan.

Truchan is concerned about the safety of off-campus students.

"Safety downtown is not safe enough for me," Truchan said.

A wake was held for Bailey last Sunday at the Thomas F. Dalton Funeral Home in Levittown, Long Island.

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