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Police: Rehab Runaway Killed Guard, Stabbed Nurse Before Arrest

Associated Press

October 07, 2010

ELLENVILLE, N.Y. — A man suspected of stabbing to death a security guard and wounding another employee at an upstate New York addiction rehabilitation center was arrested Wednesday evening after a short standoff in the Catskills, authorities said.

Sheriff’s deputies, state troopers, Ellenville police and state environmental conservation officers had spent hours searching for Richard Giga. Giga had been barricaded in a house near Ellenville for more than an hour until officers launched a barrage of gas canisters to end the standoff, Ulster County authorities said.

Giga killed 60-year-old Leland Wood at the Renaissance Project inpatient center in Ellenville after getting into an altercation with him around 3:30 a.m, Sheriff Paul VanBlarcum said.

Giga, 24, forced a female worker to drive him away from the scene, then repeatedly stabbed her while she was driving, VanBlarcum said. The car flipped over less than a mile from the center, injuring the woman, who underwent surgery at a Poughkeepsie hospital and was expected to recover, he said. The woman’s name hasn’t been released.


Richard Giga, 24

Police in helicopters and with dogs searched through the morning and afternoon in a wooded area near the crash scene after warning local residents of the potential danger. Local schools shut down for the day in the community about 75 miles north of New York City.

Police don’t know what led Giga to attack Wood, VanBlarcum said.

“We haven’t been able to interview the woman, so we don’t know what led to the altercation,” he said.

Giga was taken into custody. It wasn’t clear if he had a lawyer.

Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said Giga, who lived in New City, was sent to the facility to recover from drug and alcohol addiction before being sentenced on a felony theft charge. Giga had been charged with stealing a cell phone, misdemeanor assault and shouting racial slurs during an altercation with three Hispanic teens in 2008.

Investigators determined Giga was highly intoxicated at the time, Zugibe said, and he pleaded guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny. Under a state program, he was sent for treatment at the Renaissance center in January 2009. Zugibe said the program typically lasts about 18 months.

According to the Renaissance website, the Westchester County-based organization has a 100-bed facility in Ellenville and nine outpatient facilities in other locations.

Associated Press writers Chris Carola and George M. Walsh in Albany, N.Y., contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  • Pl1_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    My prayers go the family of the Security Guard, as this happened in my back yard a big kudos to the response of the Ulster County Sheriff's Department and State Police as this is a very rural area with large tracts of woodland and empty houses he could have been hidden in and the search could have lasted much longer.

  • 1051193310_l_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Blessings to the family of the guard, speedy and quick recovery to the nurse. Now let justice be served!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago

    hes a psycho lock him up

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago

    in the Mental Warrant world....substance abusers fall into our "jurisdiction"...when I read about these sorts of crimes, really keeps this deputy on his toes about who we deal with every day

  • 1979_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Yeah, I have the rehab for him now, on a gurney with deadly drugs being dripped into his arm. That will rehab him this time.

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