TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Shock and grief has gripped the city of Troy after police announced two young children were among the four people killed inside a Lansingburgh apartment.
Troy Police Capt. Dan DeWolf said police were called to 158 2nd Ave. around 12:50 p.m. Tuesday after the property manager reported finding four people unresponsive in the basement apartment.
When officers and medics arrived, they found 5-year-old Shanise Myers, 11-year-old Jeremiah Myers, 36-year-old Shanta Myers (Mother to both children), and 22-year-old Brandi Mells dead.
On Thursday, police released the identities of the victims.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Troy Police Chief John Tedesco spoke of the savagery of the crime.
“After being in this business for almost 42 years, I can’t describe the savagery of a person like this,” he said. “I don’t know of a word that could say.”
Tedesco said Myers and Mells were in a relationship with one another and lived with the children in the basement apartment. He refused to release the cause and manner of death, possible motive, or a weapon used.
He said the bodies were discovered by a property manager who was asked to check on their welfare. Once inside, the manager called 911.
911 Dispatcher: “Our caller reports three people with their hands behind their backs not breathing.”
“We feel that someone who commits a crime of this magnitude is capable of anything, but we do not believe it was a random act,” Tedesco said. “We do not believe there is any imminent danger to the community.”
As police continue to investigate, the community searches for answers. Horrific, tragic, unimaginable were words used to describe the scene.
“How could something like this happen?” City Councilman Mark McGrath wondered. “What would drive any individual or individuals to attack children like that?”
“That somebody did such a violent horrific act to a child, people are a little bit on edge,” he continued.
Frank Mayben knew the young boy who died. He coached Jeremiah in baseball and basketball at the Troy Central School District.
“Outstanding young man,” he said. “Very coachable. Listened. Had the discipline. Wanted to be a leader. Wanted to be part of everything that was right.”
The community is asking for anyone with information to come forward and to disobey whatever “street code” may exist.
“When you’re dealing with violence and children that code is broken,” McGrath said. “Really somebody needs to come forward.”
“The people need to cry out,” United Ordained Church Rev. Charles Burkes said. “And whoever is out there that knows anything, they need to stop respecting the street code and give up their information.”
And asking whoever is responsible to come forward.
“There’s no justification for it,” Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church Rev. Jackie Robinson Sr. said. “I mean, give yourself up. How can you live with yourself? Doing something like this.”
Jason Fenton has lived across the street from the scene for nearly 20 years.
“It’s horrible,” he said. “I feel bad for the families.”
Fenton returned to Troy on Tuesday after being away for the holiday.
“When I left on Friday, there were kids playing outside in the snow, so I mean, I can only hope it didn’t involve them,” he said.
Andrew Jackson lives a few houses away.
“Sad, very sad for families to be murdered and killed in their own community and nobody has any regard,” he said.
He remembers seeing the family walk by his place all the time.
“You know, I would see them on the streets and they spoke to me and I spoke to them,” he said.
Tim Hardgrove lives down the street.
“It’s hitting a little too close to home,” he said.
He wants justice for whoever is responsible.
“Catch the people that did it and string them up if they’re killing kids,” he said.
New York State Police are assisting in the investigation.
“Unfortunately, it’s horrible, terrible, sad, especially at this time of the year that there’s four deceased folks in there,” DeWolf said on Tuesday. “We’re gonna do everything we can to look into this and get to the bottom of what happened here.”
Wednesday night, people came to the 2nd Avenue building to pay respects to the family that was violently taken away.
“Support and love from other people is definitely needed,” Cortlyn Clooney said as she left candles in the family’s honor.
Neighbor Tony Kruegler remained in shock.
“You have to wonder what goes through someone’s mind to kill anyone let alone four,” he said. “Children being involved – it’s as bad as it gets.”
Fenton, meanwhile, looks forward to getting answers because he said the neighborhood is usually quiet.
“Most of the people that live here are single families and they’re trying to make Troy better and they’re trying to make this Capital Region better,” he said.
While police called it an isolated incident, some in the community did not agree that the threat of violence had disappeared.
“Until they catch whoever did it then there are certainly reasons to be fearful,” Robinson Sr. said. “We don’t know who did it.”
“We are talking about the tragic taking of four lives,” Tedesco said. “I can only ask that if you know anything, even if you feel it is insignificant but you feel it is out of the ordinary, please call us.”
Anyone with information can call the Troy Police Department or submit an anonymous tip through Capital Region Crime Stoppers. The hotline is 1 (833)-ALB-TIPS or the app can be downloaded for free by searching P3TIPS.
As for a suspect or suspects, Tedesco said they are talking to a lot of people but have not isolated anyone.
Victory Christian Church of Albany is offering a $5,000 reward for information that may lead to an arrest and conviction in the case.