An off-duty police officer with the New York Police Department was allegedly the perpetrator of a horrific murder-suicide outside New York City earlier this month.
Investigators say that 36-year-old Sean Armstead was off-duty from his job with the NYPD on the night of May 8 when he confronted a younger man named Edward Wilkins outside a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in the city of Wallkill, New York.
Cops allege that Armstead shot Wilkins, who was just 20 years old, “multiple times” leading to his death. Moments later, then, police documents assert that Armstead “turned the gun on himself” and died by suicide in that same parking lot.
The tragedy deepened when police learned that Armstead and Wilkins were “known to each other” before the shooting. According to multiple media reports, Wilkins was allegedly the young lover of Armstead’s wife, 35-year-old Alexandra Vanderheyden.
Police say that late on the evening of May 8, Armstead followed Wilkins’ car along Route 211 in Orange County, New York. At some point while both were driving on the road, Armstead reportedly used his vehicle to ram into Wilkins’ car, eventually spinning the younger man’s car around and causing it to come to an abrupt stop. Wilkins then immediately fled his car on foot, but Armstead gave chase, and followed him into the Buffalo Wild Wings parking lot.
Once there, Armstead allegedly shot at Wilkins more than a dozen times, eventually hitting him in the back of the head with fatal rounds. After Wilkins had been shot, the disgraced cop apparently turned the gun on himself and died by suicide, ending the horrific incident in a split-second.
Police are now saying that Armstead first followed Wilkins from a nearby hotel room, where the young victim had allegedly been staying together with Vanderheyden. The younger man reportedly worked for Vanderheyden’s dog-walking business, according to sources who spoke to People about the horrific tragedy. Armstead allegedly first found the hotel after he “trailed” his wife to the establishment where she was having a rendezvous with Wilkins, according to the New York Post.
A woman who the Post identified only as Wilkins’ grandmother told the outlet her thoughts about the horrific situation, saying:
“It’s a terrible tragedy. He just turned 20. His birthday was April 12. I blame the woman.”
On Saturday, Wilkins’ funeral was held the small hamlet of Pine Bush, New York, just about ten miles north of the site where his murder occurred a week prior. Mourners there remembered the young man, who graduated from a local high school in 2020, as “a love of all things baseball” who had been “looking forward to a future in Corrections” later in his life that was so tragically cut short.
While one woman wailed “it’s not fair” repeatedly at the sorrowful event, another person — who identified herself as a friend of Wilkins’ named Amelia — explained to the media outlet that the late young man had been “a great person.”
“He never did anything that he wasn’t supposed to. He was always nice to everyone. He was like my brother.”
Here is more on the terrible tragedy, from News 12 New York (below):
Such an awful incident.
Our hearts go out to Wilkins’ family, friends, and loved ones during this unimaginable time.
[Image via News 12 New York/YouTube]