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State trooper shot and killed in Jefferson County

A New York State trooper was shot and killed after responding to a call Sunday night at a home in Jefferson County, according to State Police. 

At a news conference Monday,  State Police Superintendent George Beach said 36-year-old Trooper Joel Davis responded to a shots fired call just after 8 p.m. Sunday at a home along County Route 46 in the Town of Theresa. When Davis approached the home, he was shot once and killed. 

Credit New York State Police
State Trooper Joel Davis was shot and killed Sunday after responding to a call in the town of Theresa.

The suspect, 32-year-old Justin Walters, also allegedly killed his wife, 27-year-old Nichole Walters. State Police have not said if Davis was shot and killed before or after Nichole Walters was killed. Beach said Nichole Walters was found dead in the driveway of the residence with multiple gunshot wounds.

A second woman, who Beach described as a friend of Nichole Walters, was also shot. Rebecca Finkel was wounded in the upper torso and taken to Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown. Her injuries are described as non-life threatening.

State Police say Walters, who is an active duty U.S. Army infantryman stationed at Fort Drum, put down his weapon and surrendered without further incident when more officers arrived on the scene. 

According to WWNY-TV, Walters appeared in Town of Leray court this morning. He was charged with first and second-degree murder. He's being held without bail. 

Davis was a State Trooper for four years. Before becoming a Trooper, Davis was a Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputy for 10 years. He is survived by his wife and three children. 

Statement by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the death of Trooper Joel Davis

The entire New York family grieves today for Trooper Joel Davis, who was shot and killed in the line of duty Sunday night in Theresa, Jefferson County. Trooper Davis served as a member of the New York State Police for four years and his death is yet another sad reminder of the risks law enforcement officers face each day in order to protect our communities and serve the residents of this great state. I ask all New Yorkers to keep Trooper Davis' family, loved ones and colleagues in the state police in their prayers during this incredibly difficult time.

Cuomo has ordered flags at state government buildings be lowered to half-staff starting Wednesday, through internment, in honor of Davis.

Credit New York State Police
Justin Walters is charged with first and second-degree murder in the shooting death of his wife, Nichole Walters, and State Trooper Joel Davis

Walters is a decorated soldier, according to Fort Drum's public affairs office. Originally from Zeeland, Michigan, Walters joined the army, and was stationed at Fort Drum, in September 2007. He served two 12 month tours in Afghanistan, from January 2009 to January 2010, and from March 2011 to March 2012. He's the recipient of several awards and honors, including the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, non-commissioned officer professional development ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO medal, Combat Infantry Badge.

Walters is expected back in court at 5 p.m. Monday.

Jason has served as WRVO's news director in some capacity since August 2017. As news director, Jason produces hourly newscasts, and helps direct local news coverage and special programming. Before that, Jason hosted Morning Edition on WRVO from 2009-2019. Jason came to WRVO in January of 2008 as a producer/reporter. Before that, he spent two years as an anchor/reporter at WSYR Radio in Syracuse.