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Police: Motive In Shooting Remains A Mystery

Accused gunman described as a loner who had little contact with his Valley Cottage neighbors.

Recluse. Loner. Shut-in.

Those were some of the descriptions police say they have found best describe 53-year-old Eric Goods of Valley Cottage, who is accused of attempted murder in the apparently unprovoked shooting Tuesday morning of a neighbor who was taking his dog out for an early-morning walk.

Goods is being held in the Rockland County Correctional Facility in New City on $1 million bail pending action by a grand jury expected to review charges against him on Monday. The victim in the shooting, 33-year-old Eduard Kern, continues to recover at Nyack Hospital from gunshot wounds to the leg, arm and head.

Clarkstown police investigating the shooting at the Mountainview Condominiums say Goods remains uncooperative and that they have not found any connection between Goods and Kern that could even remotely explain the incident.

In Clarkstown Town Court on Wednesday afternoon, no further clues came to light as Goods was arraigned by Town Judge Howard Gerber. Goods did not say anything in court during his brief appearance, where Gerber ordered Goods continue to be held on the $1 million bail he had set on Tuesday night following Goods’ capture after a manhunt in Valley Cottage.

Clarkstown police detectives say Goods and Kern, a teacher, lived in the same building at Mountainview Condominiums, but apparently did not know each other. Police said interviews with Goods’ neighbors found that the shooting suspect did not venture out of his condo often and had little contact with neighbors.

However, detectives said possible factors in the shooting they are looking at include Goods being unemployed and being the subject of foreclosure proceedings for his condo unit at Mountainview.

Police said that Goods had not been involved in any recent violent incidents and the only contact they had with him over the past 10 years involved minor matters:

-       Records show Goods and another Mountainview resident were in a brief dispute over flashing car high-beam headlights at each other, and

-       Goods 10 years ago had reported someone knocked over his motorcycle.

Police said there were no incidents involving Kern and that Kern told police he had not even seen Goods for as long as three months.

As of Wednesday, detectives said the shooting at Mountainview condos appears to have been a random act.

Close Range

Detectives said one thing they know for certain is that Kern is lucky to be alive.

As Kern was walking his dog about 100 yards south of his condo unit Tuesday around 5:50 a.m., detectives said Kern heard from behind him the cocking of a gun and a loud “pop.” Detectives who interviewed Kern said he appears to have avoided death by immediately putting distance between himself and the shooter armed with a .38 caliber handgun.

Police are awaiting more detailed medical information about Kern’s wounds, but they said doctors initially found that Kerns had been shot three times and a fourth wound may have been from a bullet fragment. All five shots from the handgun had been fired, police said.

Clarkstown detectives were still checking records late Wednesday to determine whether Goods legally owned the gun used in the shooting.

Police said that after the shooting the gun was hidden on the Mountainview grounds. The gun, however, was quickly discovered with the help of a police dog that was called in to assist with the search for the gunman in the shooting.

The shooting sparked a manhunt that lasted more than five hours and involved police from Clarkstown, Orangetown, the Sheriff’s Department, State Police and police from Westchester County. The county’s emergency helicopter flew low over the area for hours as part of the search and police armed with automatic weapons manned a road block that checked cars going into and out of Mountainview condos at Sierra Vista Lane off of Mountainview Avenue.

Police arrested Goods as he emerged from the woods south of Mountainview condos. Investigators had received a tip from a Mountainview resident who knew a spot in the woods where he had previously seen Goods. Police with dogs went to that area and flushed Goods out of the woods into the arms of awaiting officers.

Goods was arrested without incident.  He was first considered a “person of interest” in the investigation but was formally charged with attempted murder Tuesday night.

He is currently being represented in court by the Rockland County Public Defender’s Office. Police said that repeated attempts to obtain information from Goods were met with silence.

The shooting and the manhunt stunned residents of Mountainview Condominiums, a sprawling mountainside complex that police say is known as a safe community with very little crime and few incidents of violence.

Police said that searches of Goods' condo unit and car did not reveal anything unusual that could help in explaining the shooting.

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