Family, Friends Mourn Loss of Murder-Suicide Victim
The late-fall sun and the blazing blue sky were uncharacteristic for Monday’s funeral service, as hundreds of people packed the pews of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Shrub Oak. The mid-morning rays disguised Nov. 21 as late September, but for the mourners attending service that morning the weather didn’t matter all that much.
With the church packed to each exit, those in attendance grieved a loss that most would not be able to handle or grasp at that moment. This would be the first of two funerals that family members and friends could not make sense of, for both losses seemed unwarranted in the wake of the lives each man led.
“To be honest, I’m at a loss for words, as I’m sure everyone is—it’s a shame we all have to be gathered here under these circumstances, but there’s always good with the bad,” said the son of Michael Boccardi, the man who allegedly shot and killed his coworker Michael Purdy and then turned the gun on himself. “I choose to have a type of memory of him, and that’s of an amazing father.”
The funeral came almost four days after the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office redirected a 9-1-1 call to the Carmel Police Department late Wednesday night. According to police reports, a resident on Woodland Road received a knock on the door someone who reported that two people have been shot. Additional reports also suggest that neighbors living in the small residential community in Mahopac Falls had heard gunshots ring throughout the crisp November night air. The time in between the arrival of the police and the coroner are still blurred by the evening’s tragic events, but by the time Dr. Michael Nesheiwat responded to the scene outside of Purdy’s rental cottage, both men had passed away.
Though the facts may be hard and cold, they are neither straight nor clear. Last week’s alleged murder-suicide is an instance of such, where those who knew Boccardi and Purdy may contain the answers to last Wednesday’s tragedy. For now however, Putnam County, which was disturbed by last month’s murder-suicide in Katonah where Sam Friedlander killed his wife, two children and himself, can only rely on police reports and word-of-mouth to discover some sort of tangible reason something like this could ever happen “where the country begins.”
According to Carmel Police Chief Michael Johnson, the murder-suicide took place at approximately 10 p.m. on Wednesday night. His report states that Boccardi, a 47-year-old Mahopac resident, awaited the return of his estranged wife and 56-year-old Purdy, whom had been having dinner together earlier in the evening.
“Upon his arrival home, Mr. Boccardi fired several shots at Mr. Purdy as he was walking towards his residence, one of which struck Mr. Purdy in the head,” Johnson said. “Mr. Boccardi then jumped into the car with estranged wife and ordered her to drive away.”
Whether or not this was premeditated attack, Boccardi hid in the shrubbery until Purdy arrived home with his wife, MaryAnn Boccardi. For reasons that are still unknown, Boccardi unloaded his .40-caliber Glock semiautomatic pistol upon Purdy’s arrival.
Police say it was then that Boccardi’s estranged wife was “emotionally distraught” over her husband’s actions and attempted to reason with him. According to the report, Boccardi then took the pistol and shot himself to death.
“Both Mr. Boccardi and Mr. Purdy were employed by the Town of Carmel Highway Department, as a result of this incident this is a tragic loss for the entire community,” Johnson wrote in a statement.
Purdy, who was the department’s head mechanic, worked in the same field as Boccardi, who oversaw the town’s tree-removal operations. Though they both worked in the Carmel Highway Department, they did not work side-by-side with one another. For highway superintendent Michael Simone, Thursday marked a sad day for his department, as the two members left a void among his workers.
“It is a tragic, tragic day,” Simone said. “It’s really unbelievable.”
Unbelievable as it may seem, the affects of Boccardi’s actions are real and felt by many. Purdy, who joined the Mahopac Volunteer Fire Department after Sept. 11, is said to be greatly missed as his department’s former Engine Company 3 captain and now former president.
“The Mahopac Volunteer Fire Department is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our Department President Michael Purdy,” a statement from the department read. “Mike’s approach to life and his sense of humor made him a very popular member, and he was loved by everyone.”
As Boccardi took to his final resting place at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Putnam Valley, Purdy will be laid to rest on Tuesday after a service at the same church that mourned his alleged killer just one day before.
Adam has worked in the local news industry for the past two decades in Westchester County and the broader Hudson Valley. Read more from Adam’s author bio here.