Two dead, one injured after Utica standoff ends in murder-suicide

Utica Police say officers were called to a home on Elmhurst Road for what was initially reported to be a shots fired incident.

Posted: Mar 9, 2020 11:26 AM
Updated: Mar 9, 2020 6:11 PM

UTICA – Two people are dead after a standoff turned into a fatal shooting in North Utica early Monday morning.

Utica Police held a news conference Monday morning to offer more details.

The scene on Van Rensselaer Road on March 9, 2020 (WKTV photo)

Police say around 12:10 a.m. officers were called to a home on Elmhurst Road for what was initially reported to be a shots fired incident. Upon further investigation Police learned that 38-year-old Christopher Conkling entered the home of 35-year-old Heather Mock through an unlocked back door and shot 33-year-old Andrew Pruitt, who was also in the residence at the time.

Conkling, according to police, shot Pruitt in the head. Conkling then pointed his gun at Mock’s mother, who ran upstairs and called police.

Police say Conkling then abducted Mock and took her in a black SUV to his home on Van Rensselaer Road, just a few blocks away. Utica Police located the SUV and called in State Police and the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office for assistance.

Police evacuated neighboring homes and attempted to make contact with Conkling and Mock for several hours before entering the home and finding both dead from gunshot wounds.

Police are calling the case a murder-suicide. They say they are processing two crime scenes, at Mock's home on Elmhurst and Conkling's home on Van Rensselaer. They found several weapons in Conkling’s home, but are not sure which one was used in the shootings.

Pruitt was taken to St. Elizabeth Medical Center, where he is expected to survive his injuries.

Police say their investigation is continuing. Mock, Conkling and Pruitt were all employed as corrections officers at Marcy Correctional Facility. Police say they are investigating if there was a relationship between Mock and Pruitt. They say Conkling and Mock were previously engaged.

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