Image: Standoff becomes blaze
The Margaretville farmhouse where Trooper David C. Brinkerhoff was killed was destroyed in a still-unexplained fire that erupted as troopers closed in on the suspect.
updated 4/27/2007 4:48:04 PM ET 2007-04-27T20:48:04

Friendly fire apparently killed a New York state trooper as he searched a farmhouse for a suspect in the shooting of a colleague, officials said Friday.

Trooper David C. Brinkerhoff, a member of the force’s elite mobile response team, was shot Wednesday as he and another trooper went into a Catskill-area farmhouse where the suspect had holed up.

“The fatal wound was made by a .223 (caliber) tactical round that was believed to have been fired by an MRT member,” said acting State Police Superintendent Preston Felton.

The Margaretville farmhouse was destroyed hours later in a still-unexplained fire that erupted as troopers closed in on the suspect, 23-year-old Travis Trim. His badly burned body was found inside with a rifle; autopsy results have not been released.

Shot along with Brinkerhoff was Trooper Richard Mattson, who was wounded in the left arm and survived.

Felton said Trim fired the round that hit Mattson, and shot Brinkerhoff in the chest with a small-caliber round that the trooper’s body armor stopped. Brinkerhoff, who was wearing a Kevlar helmet, was then shot in the back of the head, Felton said.

“In a firefight such as this, and our members are highly trained, what it appears happened here is that Trooper Brinkerhoff was struck in the chest and was knocked back,” Felton said. “Other members came to his aid and started to return fire at the shooter. At some point Trooper Brinkerhoff ended up getting hit by a round.”

Police initially said Trim had killed Brinkerhoff. “This was a very volatile situation,” Felton said.

The new details about the deadly encounter were based on “an autopsy and preliminary forensic review,” Felton said, adding that the full analysis of the information is not yet complete.

Trim had been on the run since Tuesday, when he shot a trooper after he was stopped driving a stolen vehicle. That trooper’s body armor prevented him from being seriously hurt, police said.

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