Two Awful Crimes Took Place at the Hudson Valley Mall in Just Over One Year
Do you remember?
The Hudson Valley Mall in Kingston was once home to a full mall of stores. There was JC Penny, Macy's, and Filene's to name a few, and from the 1980s until the 2000s if you needed something, most of us went to the mall located off of Ulster Ave in Kingston, New York to get it. Did you know that over a 15-month span there were two tragic events at the once popular mall?
Back on Sunday, February 13, 2005, a normal shopping day at the mall changed when a man entered the mall with a semi-automatic gun and started shooting according to Wikipedia.
The man, 24-year-old Robert Bonelli, of Glasco, New York, entered the mall through the Best Buy store and started shooting an AK-47 Variant. As shots rang out, panicked customers and employees started to flee the mall as Bonelli continued to shoot his way through the store. He continued to shoot until he ran out of ammunition and when he did, he dropped the gun. One person then grabbed it and another tackled Bonelli to end the nightmare. Thankfully nobody was killed in the shooting but two people were wounded including a National Gaurd recruiter and a male shopper.
Shooting Allegedly Inspired by Columbine Shooting
While all local authorities investigated the incident, after searching Bonelli's house they found what Ulster County District Attorney at the time Donald Williams called "Columbine memorabilia". Officials later described the man as being fascinated by the Columbine High School massacre. Bonelli pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to 32 years in state prison on May 20, 2006.
Murder at the Mall
Around 15 months after the mall shooting, in 2006 a 42-year-old woman was murdered at the mall. Sharon Inger, the night manager of the Ground Round restaurant, was stabbed some 33 times according to police sometime between the closing time on Saturday, June 3, and the morning of Sunday around 9:00 a.m., June 4, 2006.
Police said that a newly hired employee, Paul David Despres was responsible for the murder saying, Despres went to the restaurant to steal his personal file after having a run-in with local police and while he was there, he was confronted by Inger. That confrontation led Despres to grab a kitchen knife and kill Inger at around 12:45 a.m. He also made off with around $4,000 in cash according to Wikipedia.
Despres was never convicted of the murder because he was killed two weeks later after he allegedly jumped from a vehicle while intoxicated after leaving a party.