On March 20, a shooting occurred at the Órale Mexican Restaurant located at 11 Old Route 299, while several people were dining inside. The shooting resulted in two people sustaining injuries. This occurred merely one day after a fully loaded gun was found on Huguenot Street.
A Press Release was issued by the New Paltz Police Department saying that two males sustained injuries. One individual was a 59-year old man who was shot in the foot. Both individuals were transported to Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital by the New Paltz Rescue Squad.
The New Paltz Police Department investigated the event with the help of the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office, state police, the SUNY New Paltz Police Department and the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office
According to Brooklyn News 12, the shooting occurred after an altercation inside the restaurant escalated.
The Press Release also informed the public of the arrest of Garry F. Kniffen for one count of Assault in the Second Degree and one count of Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree.
Kniffen turned himself in on March 24 to the New Paltz Police Department and was released on his own recognizance. He is set to appear at court at a later date.
Additionally, the New Paltz Police Department and the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office Pistol Permit Bureau have suspended Kniffens Pistol Permit and seized all of his handguns pending a future hearing.
The restaurant posted on their Facebook page that they will be closed following the shooting until March 29.
This is not the first instance of gun use that has occurred in New Paltz recently.
On March 19, Casey-Quinn Kooistra found a loaded handgun on Huguenot Street and took to the New Paltz Community (moderated) Facebook group which has 8.5k members to inform the community.
“Today I found a loaded handgun in the middle of Huguenot St right in front of the nature preserve entrance. I called police to safely remove it,” read the post.
It went on to discuss how children should be made aware of what to do in case they ever find themselves in a similar situation. Explaining that the location where the gun was found is often filled with people and anybody of any age could have seen the gun and picked it up
As of March 25 the post had 352 reactions and 312 comments.
In an update added to the post on March 20, Kooistra wrote that she had been told that the owner of the gun was found and wasn’t aware that he had lost it. She also learned that his carry license will be revoked.
“I had just turned onto Huguenot Street from Mulberry Street and I saw what looked like a gun out of the corner of my eye on the left-hand side of the street (northbound side). I put my car in reverse, thinking I’d realize it was a toy or something, but it sure looked real. I called the New Paltz Police Department and spoke with a dispatcher,” Kooistra said.
An officer was sent to the scene. As Kooistra waited for the officer, a jogger stopped and looked at the gun. She said the man seemed to have some gun knowledge and explained to her that it was a fully loaded 38.
Later on, an officer informed her that the owner of the weapon was found and that an elderly man had dropped it on his bike ride. She was also told that the man would be losing his carry license or facing some sort of judicial hearing to determine whether or not he will be losing it.
When Kooistra was waiting for an officer to come to help her, she saw a young woman with two children walking towards her. She told the woman what she had found and the woman proceeded to turn around and walk away with the children.
“It was a huge shock. That’s why I wanted to bring awareness to people about gun safety,” Kooistra said. “You may think you don’t need to talk to your kids about it because you think they’ll never encounter a gun. But this proves that’s not the case. Tell the kids in your life what to do if they ever see a gun. Not to touch it and to run and tell an adult right away.”