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Gunman Kills Self After Killing Officer, Terrorizing Neighborhood

March 22, 1996

EASTCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) _ A rifleman who had terrorized his quiet suburban neighborhood with gunfire and killed a policeman was found dead today of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, ending a 15-hour siege. His grandmother was also killed.

The body of Richard Sacchi was found at 5:35 a.m., in the attic of his Westchester County home after police tried to end the standoff.

Sacchi, 26, who was to have surrendered on stalking charges today, had unleashed a barrage of bullets that terrorized his street and sent residents diving for cover. He had held dozens of police officers and sharpshooters at bay.

Eastchester Police Chief Jim Maher said Sacchi had shot himself in the head.

His death was reported about seven hours after his 88-year-old grandmother, Catherine Sacchi, was taken from the home and pronounced dead of gunshot wounds. Police wouldn’t say whether she had been shot by her grandson.

Police said Sacchi opened fire with a rifle from the second-floor window without provocation Thursday afternoon, and continued firing for about 90 minutes. He shot the police officers as they drove up to the house in response to a call from a neighbor who heard the gunshots, police said.

One officer, 29-year-old Michael Frey, lay in the street for two hours before police could get to him and take him away in an armored car. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Another officer, Richard Morrissey, 45, was grazed in the head and fell bleeding to the ground. The armored vehicle that took away Frey’s body returned minutes later to snatch Morrissey, who was treated at a hospital and released.

More than 200 police officers descended on the scene, taking shelter behind trees, cars and other houses in this town just north of New York City.

Police vehicles, fire trucks and ambulances swarmed the area, with officers from surrounding towns flooding the cordoned-off streets. A SWAT team from the New York City Police Department was also on hand through the night.

Police said Sacchi holed up inside the house after the shooting stopped, about 5 p.m. As darkness fell, police set up a loudspeaker to try and talk with him.

Sacchi responded only by blaring heavy metal music at them, said town supervisor Jim Cavanaugh.

Sacchi’s motives were not known. Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro said Sacchi was to have surrendered to New York City authorities on stalking charges today.

He had a history of minor scuffles with police, Maher said.

Barbara Thompson, a spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, said Sacchi had pleaded guilty to aggravated harassment on Feb. 23 and was due for sentencing on April 12.

Residents in the neighborhood of single-family homes were stunned by the violence.

``I’ve lived here for 35 years,″ said neighbor Rita Blanco. ``This is a quiet town. It’s strange, it’s weird that this is happening.″

Update hourly