Police Say Shooter Has Confessed To Killing Truck Driver But Motive Remains Unclearby Jana Ritter - Published: 12/10/2016
After the tragic and random shooting of a UPS truck driver early Thursday morning, authorities say the shooter has since admitted to the crime after a 7-hour standoff that led to his arrest.
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The 52-year-old truck driver, William Schumacher, was only about four weeks into his second round on the job as a seasonal driver and had been taking a break on his overnight shift to get something to eat at a 24-hour Wal-Mart superstore in Ithaca, NY. According to UPS, he had been driving a tractor-trailer that hauls packages between processing hubs, rather than the company's signature brown delivery trucks. Officials say the fatal shooting occurred at around 12:50 am and a Wal-Mart customer told police that just minutes before the killing, he had been standing in line with the victim making pleasant small talk and joking together about some oversized lighters on display near the register. Moments later, the customer exited the store after Schumacher and saw him fall to the ground after being shot. Another eyewitness told police that the victim had simply been making his way over to his truck when a man in a black pickup truck shot him and ran over his body about 200 feet from the store.
“A guy was sitting in his truck, and all I heard was a gunshot and looked up, saw the guy fall, and then the guy in the truck backed up, pulled out, ran him over and took off,” the witness said.
Police immediately began searching for the suspect and spotted a vehicle that matched the description of the one fleeing the scene. When officers attempted to pull the suspect over, he didn't stop until reaching a driveway at a home in Dryden. Police say the suspect then exited his vehicle and fired a shot at officers before running into his house. A SWAT team was called to the scene and a 7-hour standoff ensued until a negotiator spoke with the suspect through a robot inserted into the home. The suspect finally surrendered at around 9:45 am and was taken into custody. He has been identified as 38-year-old Justin Barkley of Dryden, NY and has been charged with second-degree murder.
Investigators released more information during a press conference saying that Barkley has since admitted to driving to Wal-Mart in Ithaca early Thursday. Court documents also state that he made the confession during a taped interview "...the defendant stated that he had driven his vehicle to Wal-Mart in the City of Ithaca, and shot a man in the chest with a .30-06 caliber rifle. Barkley also stated that he had intentionally driven over the body of the victim and spun his tires before subsequently being involved in a brief pursuit with police behind him. Barkley stated that he pulled his vehicle into the driveway of his residence, exited his vehicle, and fired a "sound shot" in an effort to prevent police officers from exiting their patrol vehicles."
Investigators have also since confirmed that Barkley has no prior connection to Schumacher and it’s still unclear what exactly caused him to commit such a brutal and senseless act.