Ulster Sheriff's deputy shoots alleged perpetrator after chase


By Jay Braman Jr.
A 20-year-old man, shot twice in the chest on April 15 by a yet-to-be-identified police officer, has been charged with a variety of offenses.
In a prepared statement the day after the shooting, police described the incident as follows:
“On April 15 at approximate­ly 10:40 p.m. Ulster County 911 was contacted by a Marbletown resident regarding a vehicle stolen from her driveway. Responding NYS Troopers observed the vehicle on State Rte. 213 and attempted to stop it. The operator failed to comply and troopers pursued it into the City of Kingston where they lost contact with the vehicle. A short time later an Ulster Coun­ty Sheriff’s Deputy located the vehicle, and it was pursued through several additional jurisdictions. While on Route 28 in West Hurley the vehicle swerv­ed into an Ulster County Sheriff’s vehicle, and both vehicles left the roadway. The subject was shot while being taken into custody and is being treated at Albany Medical Center.”

Charges follow
On Friday the man, Brandon M. Rifenburg, 20, of High Falls, was released from the hospital and was charged with grand larceny, three counts of criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, criminal possession of stolen property, all felonies; and unlawful fleeing of a police officer, reckless endangerment of property, criminal nuisance, all misdemeanors; and 20 traffic infractions. Police say additional charges may be filed.
Along with the charges came more details of what happened on April 15. “The vehicle struck a fence in the vicinity of the intersection of Thomas Street and Fashion Lane in Kingston,” police said in a prepared statement.

“The vehicle continued through the towns of Ulster, Saugerties, and Kingston, ending in the Town of Hurley despite being damaged after the deployment of tire deflation devices on two separate occasions. The driver lost control of the vehicle after attempting to ram two pursuing police cars. The suspect was shot twice in the chest in the course of being taken into custody by a uniformed deputy sheriff of this agency.”
Following his release from the hospital, Rifenburg was taken to Ulster County Jail in lieu of $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond.
Ulster County District Attorney Holly Carnright told the Daily Freeman that the name of the police officer is being withheld from the public because it is his policy not to reveal names of people under investigation by a grand jury unless they are charged with a crime. Sheriff Paul J. Van Blarcum said his department has nothing to hide. “I have asked the NYSP BCI, Forensic Investigations Unit and the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office to conduct the investigation into this incident,” he said. “The sheriff’s office will participate and cooperate fully.”