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December 24, 2013

Cooperstown gunman Renert captured in Virginia

Had fled after shooting incident Monday at Seventh Inning Stretch

Joe Mahoney



Barry M. Renert, identified by law enforcement officials as the gunman who menaced a Cooperstown shopkeeper Monday morning before he himself dodged gunfire from his intended victim, has been captured by police in Richmond, Va., Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl said this morning.
Renert, 62, was taken into custody about 10:30 Monday night while waiting to board a bus at a Greyhound station, and the rented black sedan he used to flee upstate New York was found nearby, the prosecutor said.

Police, who had located Renert by honing in on his cell phone, surrounded him, and he was taken into custody without resisting, Muehl said.

Muehl said the former Richfield Springs resident is expected to be charged with menacing and first-degree burglary in connection with the Monday morning incident that triggered a commotion in the village of Cooperstown and prompted Bassett Medical Center to lock its doors while police waged a search for the gunman.
Dressed all in black and with his face masked, the heavily tattooed Renert allegedly strode into Seventh Inning Stretch at 137 Main Street, where he had formerly been employed, and confronted the store's owner, Vincent Carfagno, in a rear office, police said
Carfagno then threw himself to the floor and with his own handgun fired a shot that missed Renert, Muehl said.
Muehl said it was not immediately known whether Renert will fight extradition to New York.
An arrest warrant for Renert has been signed by the Justice Gary M. Kuch, charging Renart with burglary in the second degree. The warrant has been forwarded to the Richmond City Sheriff's Office for execution as a fugitive from justice.

If convicted, Renert faces up to seven years in prison. The case will be prosecuted by Muehl

Cooperstown village police and Otsego County Sheriff's Office investigators were en route to Virginia today to question the suspect,  the district attorney said.

“Our guys are down there, Cooperstown Police Chief Mike Covert said today, "along with the sheriff’s office guys.”

The Cooperstown Police Department, Richmond Police Department, Otsego County Sheriff’s Office, FBI in Albany, state police and district attorney investigators all participated in the investigation and manhunt, Covert said.
“Agency cooperation is what makes everything work,” said Covert.
Covert said that the FBI primarily assisted the investigation by providing technological resources, which helped to track Renert.
“I’m glad it ended without any injuries,” said Covert. “Now we have some closure and people can rest assured that he’s caught and relax a little more for Christmas.”
As of this morning, Cooperstown Police Department and Otsego County Sheriff’s Office investigators had yet to interview Renert in Virginia.
“They’re still waiting to get into the facility,” said Covert.
He also said that getting Renert back from Virginia would not be a problem.

“He has the right to fight extradition or he can waive extradition,” said Covert, who said that if Renert chose to fight extradition, the process would just take a little more time.  

Law enforcement sources said Renert had a grudge against Carfagno after the latter reported to village police earlier this year that Renert had stolen money from his shop while working there. That alleged crime was still under investigation at the time of Monday's incident.
Renert owns a house in Richfield Springs with his wife, Rebecca Sweet, according to county records. Sweet recently obtained an order of protection, forbidding Renert from contacting her. State police said in September that Renert violated that order, and he was briefly jailed at the Otsego County Correctional Facility.
Cooperstown police issued a nationwide all points bulletin for Renert shortly after the Monday incident, describing him as armed and extremely dangerous.

(Reporter Bera Dunau contributed to this story.)