Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Detectives investigate guns, drugs found at scene of fatal shooting

Black bunting hangs from Sheriff's Headquarters downtown in remembrance of Deputy Michael Hoosock Apr. 17, 2024.
Scott Willis
Black bunting hangs from Sheriff's Headquarters downtown in remembrance of Deputy Michael Hoosock Apr. 17, 2024.

More details are emerging about the investigation into Sunday’s shooting of an Onondaga County Sheriff’s Lieutenant and a Syracuse Police Officer in Salina.   

Sheriff Toby Shelley says detectives found two gun safes in the house where Christopher Murphy lived, one in his bedroom and another in his parents. Murphy used an AR-15 semi-automatic weapon to kill deputy Michael Hoosock and Officer Michael Jensen.

“The bulk of the guns were hunting rifles or shotguns," Shelley said. "The father did have an AR as well locked in his gun safe. There wasn't what I would call an excessive amount of ammunition by any means. You know, they had different guns, so they had a couple boxes of ammo for each gun.”

Shelly says the AR-15 itself is legal, but the 30-round magazine in Murphy’s weapon made it illegal to use in New York State.

Meanwhile, the sheriff says they’re trying to determine a motive. He says they’re looking at social media, tracking down what Murphy did leading up to the shooting, and awaiting toxicology reports from the medical examiner’s office. Shelley says they already know he was out drinking with a friend before returning to the house and using cocaine.

“Does it look like a white powder cocaine? Yes, but does that mean it's all cocaine? Toxicology and testing that will tell," Shelley said. "Just because we found the white powder in this house doesn't mean that's the same powder in his system. So all that we have to work out and maybe that will help make some sense out of his mental state why he would act like this.”

Shelley says the friend, Shawn Kinsella, has been released after extensive questioning. He says Kinsella fled the house right before shots were fired.

“Then the events just unfold when the police officers show up, the deputies and Syracuse police. And once that happens, when Murphy goes for that gun, Kinsella wants no part of it.”

Kinsella tried to scale a wood fence in the backyard before he was apprehended by police. Shelley says he's being treated as a witness and doesn't face any charges.

Shelley says they plan to clear the scene Wednesday evening. He says Murphy’s parents, who own the house, were last known to be in Florida. Shelley says he plans to speak to them as part of the investigation.


Onondaga County Sheriff’s deputies and Syracuse police officers continue to respond to calls and investigate crimes as they cope with the shooting deaths of their colleagues. Sheriff Shelley says he’s watching his staff closely and making sure they have the support they need to manage the trauma of Sunday night’s tragedy.

“The bulk of law enforcement doesn't show a lot of emotion and they keep it bottled up," Shelley said. "My concern isn't so much right now. I don't know if you've ever had a parent die. When my mother passed away, it really didn't hit me for a week later, when you're alone. And that's when we really have to look after each other.”

Deputies will be joined by law enforcement from around the state and the country Monday for Deputy Michael Hoosock’s funeral at the state fairgrounds Expo Center.

Large crowds are also expected for SPD officer Michael Jensen’s calling hours Friday in his hometown of Rome at Bush Funeral Home, 7751 Merrick Rd. from 3 to 8 p.m. A service will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. John the Baptist Church 210 E. Dominick St.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at