Heather Yakin The Times Herald-Record, Middletown, N.Y.
MIDDLETOWN, NY — For the second time in a week and a half, Middletown police are investigating an apparent domestic murder-suicide.
Middletown police say that Amanda Pumillo’s husband, Francis J. Pumillo, 55, shot her and then himself in the garage of their home at 70 Vincent Drive.
Police said they were called at 8:06 p.m. Tuesday through 911 after a neighbor found the couple’s bodies.
Police said the neighbor went to check on Amanda Pumillo after learning she hadn’t reported to work for her scheduled nursing shift at a local hospital.
Orange Regional Medical Center in the Town of Wallkill confirmed that Amanda Pumillo worked there.
Police said the Pumillos were alone at the home when the shooting happened. They said Francis Pumillo is a retired police officer, and used a legally possessed weapon.
Francis Pumillo’s LinkedIn page and SeeThroughNY list him as a lieutenant with the Greenburgh Town Police Department in Westchester County, starting his career with the department in 1996.
Neighbors to the home said they heard and saw nothing unusual before police arrived Tuesday evening and cordoned off the tidy, pale yellow split-level ranch house. They saw no signs before Tuesday of what was to come.
The couple seemed like good people who waved hello and goodbye and chatted occasionally, but mostly kept to themselves, said neighbors Robert and Nancy Hernandez.
“I used to see him in the back yard all the time,” Robert Hernandez said. “He was a nice guy.”
He said he last saw the husband a few days ago, putting up dowel rods at the edge of his lawn so city snow plows wouldn’t damage the sod.
Nancy Hernandez said when she did yard work in warmer months, she’d often see Amanda Pumillo sitting on the back deck. She hadn’t seen the wife in a few days, but said that wasn’t unusual because the woman worked varied nursing shifts.
Middletown police said this case and the Jan. 6 murder-suicide, in which Jasminn Emanuel’s husband, corrections officer Dennis Hercules, fatally shot her and them himself in their Monhagen Avenue home, exemplify “two alarming trends” that society must address and work toward solutions for: domestic violence, where victims were killed and their families left to struggle with the aftermath; and law enforcement suicide.
Police said the department is aggressive in its investigation and enforcement in domestic violence cases, and works closely with survivors to make sure abusers are held accountable.
Middletown police have started a partnership with Safe Homes of Orange County on an outreach program that identifies people in relationships at high risk for lethal violence in order to get them services and support.
The program is successful, Middletown Lt. Jeffry Thoelen wrote in a news release, “but sometimes our agency and Safe Homes do not find out about a victim until it’s just too late.”
In 2017, police said, three times more law enforcement officers died from suicide than from line-of-duty shooting deaths. Police said anyone dealing with thoughts of suicidal thoughts or depression should seek help rather than acting out.
“Your pain and your suffering is real, but by choosing suicide, you only transfer that pain and suffering to your friends and loved ones,” Thoelen wrote.
Police said the investigation is continuing and police will release more information if it becomes available.
©2019 The Times Herald-Record, Middletown, N.Y.