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Folk Singer Finds Slain Woman

October 30, 1985

PIERMONT, N.Y. (AP) _ The body of New York City police officer, allegedly shot during an argument, was discovered in a driveway by folk singer Tom Chapin, who says he heard shots and shouting outside his home in this quiet, small town on the Hudson River.

″I was home alone with my 5-year-old daughter, Abigail, who wasn’t feeling well,″ Chapin, who moved here from New York City last summer, said Tuesday.

″At about 11:40, I heard ‘bang, bang, bang.’ It sounded like shots. I ran out. A guy was yelling. He had a gun. He went into the woods,″ Chapin said.

In the driveway outside the house, Chapin found the body of Milta Bruetsch, a New York City police officer.

The woman, who was staying with relatives next door to Chapin, allegedly had been gunned down by her estranged husband, John, a 17-year Transit Authority police officer, authorities said.

Bruetsch, 39, who remained at large today, became the object of a statewide manhunt after he fled the scene of the shooting, said Rockland County District Attorney Kenneth Gribetz.

Chapin, brother of the late singer-songwriter Harry Chapin, said his first reaction after finding the body was, ″Are we going to get shot?″

″My second was to think about the woman. My third was to run home and watch out for my daughter, because this guy ran into the woods,″ he said.

Chapin said his daughter told him, ″Daddy, if there’s another shooting, it’ll be just like Brooklyn.″

Mrs. Bruetsch had been a police officer since January 1984 and was assigned to the 40th Precinct in the Bronx. Bruetsch was a 17-year veteran of the New York City Transit Authority force.

Ed Silberfarb, a TA spokesman, said Bruetsch has received eight commendations during his years on the force. He has also received eight ″derelictions″ on his record, which the spokesman said, were mostly minor, such as being late or off his post.

Silberfarb said, however, on two occasions - in Aug. 1978 and May 1979 - when he was under a court order barring him from visiting his first wife, Bruetsch violated the order, and was each time suspended from the force for 30 days.