The scene of a murder-suicide and fire in Latham.
COLONIE — “I know I speak for a shocked and grieving community,” said Town Supervisor Paula Mahan, who has made sure that support services are available to grieving town residents in the wake of last week’s murder-suicide that took the life of a ten-year-old North Colonie student, a beloved Mohonasen schoolteacher and a Colonie police officer. “We are all reacting to the tragic deaths of the Roman family members earlier this week. Our whole community is mourning this terrible tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the extended Roman family and Noah, and the Town of Colonie will do whatever it can to be of assistance to all involved. I thank the many community members who have contacted me to express their sorrow for the Roman family. I know that none of us can really understand the terrible grief and loss they are experiencing, but I hope that knowing so many are sending their prayers and sympathy will help them in this time of terrible sadness. Our hearts go out to the Roman family.”
County Legislator Frank Mauriello said he was sitting on the Colonie Town Board when Officer Israel Roman was hired to the force more than ten years ago. “If I remember correctly, he was the first bilingual – English and Spanish speaking – officer hired by the Colonie Police Department,” he said. “We thought it was very important to have him as a member of the department. It’s just a very tragic, very unfortunate incident. My heart goes out to the surviving son.”
Local Assemblyman Phil Steck called the incident “very distressing,” and said that “knowing when an employee is despondent or suffering from acute mental health issues is hard to discern. As anyone knows who has tried to seek mental health services for someone they love, such services are in short supply and very difficult to access. Hopefully, this tragedy will bring into clearer focus the need to provide the necessary support services for all members of the community.”
“The tragic events of last week’s murder-suicide were unspeakably devastating,” said Colonie Town Board member Jennifer Whalen. “The entire Roman Family has been in the thoughts and prayers of Colonie residents and the tragedy has been weighing heavily on all of our minds. Throughout my travels in the town, residents have asked me what they can do and what went wrong. While we know what and how it happened due to the thorough investigation by the New York State police and the quick response by the Colonie Police and Verdoy Fire departments, we may never know why such a tragedy occurred. As part of the mourning and grieving process, residents can donate to one of the funds set up for the benefit of the surviving son Noah Roman.”
“Mrs. Roman was a vibrant member of the Mohonasen community for nearly 20 years,” wrote Mohonasen School District Superintendent and Bradt Primary Principal Michele Whitley in response to the event. “She touched the lives of countless children and was a friend to all who crossed her path. We are heartbroken by this tragic news. Mrs. Roman was a phenomenal educator who will be deeply missed.” District administrators, they said, had developed a plan and made counselors and other resources available to students and staff but, they stressed, they did not discuss the event with students and recommended that parents take the earliest opportunity to do so. The email contained links to resources on the district’s website to help parents navigate potentially difficult discussions.