Paul Kutz, 53, of East Northport, on Long Island, was hit by gunfire in the chest and torso in the lobby at a hotel in Poughkeepsie, New York, around 7:30 a.m. Sunday, according to investigators. Two homeless men who were staying at the hotel got into a dispute that resulted in gunshots, authorities said.
People who knew Kutz — who was a father, husband, little league coach, accountant, and reliable neighbor — are trying to cope with his loss.
“His family is destroyed, for no reason,” said Joseph Farrell, who’s lived next door to the Kutz family for 20 years.
At the home on Tuesday, people stopped by or sent care packages to the family throughout the day as they mourned.
“A piece of our neighborhood, gone, for nothing,” Farrell said. “Paul was a great guy … I’m gonna miss seeing his face.”
Erik Jensen lives on the other side of the Kutz family’s home.
“His family, his wife, and his kids were everything to him,” Jensen said. “Just living next to him, I could tell he was an amazing father. He was always with his kids.”
To be with his son was why Kutz had been at the hotel in Poughkeepsie. It’s located near Marist College, where Kutz was visiting for “Family Weekend,” an event for relatives to spend time on campus.
The college issued a statement on Monday about the tragedy, which read in part, “Our deepest condolences go out to the family, and we are offering the full support of the Marist community.”
Farrell, the next-door neighbor, said the void left in the wake of the tragedy is palpable.
“Now he has three kids and a wife without a dad,” Farrell said. “I see them out here all the time … An absolute shame.”
Police took two men into custody after the shooting. Investigators said suspects Roy Johnson, 35, and Devin Taylor, 26, did not know Kutz. Police also said that Kutz was a random victim.
Johnson was charged with second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Taylor was charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Both are awaiting arraignment in jail.
According to law enforcement officials, the men had instructions on bomb-making and had bomb-making materials in their room. Both have criminal histories, police said.
Even though the suspects have been identified as homeless, local homeless services agencies have said they were not using the hotel where the shooting occurred as a facility to house people experiencing homelessness.