Trooper Nicholas Clark originally had one career goal in mind: Becoming an NFL player. When a try out with the Buffalo Bills didn’t work, the star athlete switched his focus: He decided to become a cop.
Since 2015, that’s what he was, a New York state trooper to be exact, and, as New York’s governor recalled on July 2, 2018, Trooper Nicholas Clark was an exemplary one.
Tragically, Clark became the 26th member of the New York State Police to lose his life in the line of duty in recent years when he was shot during the response call to a suicidal subject who was barricaded in a Town of Erwin home. The suspect was identified as Steven Kiley, a school principal in New York State, and Kiley was also found dead at the scene.
The slain trooper was formally identified as Clark, 29. He sometimes went by the name Nick Clark.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Nicholas Clark Was Remembered as a ‘Stellar Trooper With an Extraordinary Record’
New York’s governor joined those mourning Clark, and he described him as a “stellar trooper.”
“To his mother, his father, and his brother, we hope you find peace in this senseless act of violence,” Governor Cuomo said, calling Clark “a stellar trooper with an extraordinary record. His whole life before him. Great athlete. Well-accomplished. He wanted to do one thing. Which is to help people….A situation like this makes no sense.”
Clark lived in New York State in Troupsburg, which is located in Steuben County. He graduated from state police basic school in 2015. He is survived by his mother, father, and brother, authorities said in the news conference.
“This is a terrible loss for the New York State Police,” authorities said. They said that Clark leaves behind his father Anthony Clark; his mother, Theresa Gunn; and his brother, Nathan Clark. He was assigned to Troops C and E, most recently being located in Bath.
2. Clark Was a Star Athlete Who Once Tried Out for the Buffalo Bills
Clark excelled at athletics before he excelled at police work. According to The Associated Press, Nicholas Clark was a star athlete who once tried out for the Buffalo Bills. He “was a two-time state wrestling champion and standout football player who had a wrestling scholarship to the University of North Carolina, where he spent a year,” AP reported.
Clark tried out for the Bills shortly before becoming a trooper instead. “He transferred back here to the Bath barracks in August 2017, where he was very proud to serve the citizens that he called friends and neighbors, to try to give back to the community,” State Police Maj. Richard Allen said.
“He was an outstanding athlete, a lifelong Steuben County resident, graduated from Canisteo Greenwood High School, a two-time state wrestling champion and a standout football player,” said Allen. “He had a scholarship to the University of North Carolina Greensboro as a [wrestler]. He attended there one year, and then he attended Alfred University, where he tried out for the Buffalo Bills, prior to coming to us.”
3. Clark Once Said His Sole Goal Was Playing in the NFL & He Was a College All-American Linebacker
Clark’s Twitter page, which hasn’t been updated since 2013, reads, “2x All-American Alfred University linebacker with one goal, playing in the NFL.” Photos show him hunting, fishing, and spending time with friends.
According to The Star Gazette, Nicholas Clark “spent one year at University of North Carolina at Greensboro on a wrestling scholarship before transferring to Alfred University, where he was an All-American linebacker and…was invited as a free agent to Buffalo Bills mini-camp that spring.”
Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo released the following statement:
My heart breaks for the family of New York State Trooper Nicholas Clark, killed today in the line of duty just south of our area. Trooper Clark’s loss is a tragic reminder of the many dangers law enforcement officers face every time they put on the badge on our behalf. As we spend time with our own friends and family this week, may we all take time to recognize and appreciate the sacrifices made by those who serve in uniform to keep us safe, both at home and abroad. I ask that our entire community join me in keeping the Clark family and all New York State Troopers in our thoughts and prayers today and in the days to come.
Rep. Tom Reed wrote, “While my thoughts and prayers go out each time a member of law enforcement is killed in the line of duty – today’s tragedy strikes especially close to not only my home but heart. Trooper Clark bravely put his life on the line to protect his community and should be recognized as a hero for his actions. As a fellow Alfred University graduate, I stand with his family and friends as they mourn.”
4. The Call Was for a ‘Suicidal Subject’ Barricaded in His House
At about 3:30 a.m. on July 2, 2018, authorities responded to a call of a suicidal subject barricaded in his residence. During the course of the response, Trooper Nicholas Clark was killed, authorities said in a news conference, without providing further details.
The suspect, Steven Kiley was later found deceased in the residence from an apparent gunshot wound, authorities said. Authorities said in the news conference that Clark was killed in the response. A woman described as Steve Kiley’s estranged wife made the 911 call.
Kiley’s estranged wife told police “that he had stated he was thinking about suicide and might be armed,” said First Deputy Superintendent of State Police Chris Fiore at the press conference. Authorities tried to establish negotiations with Kiley but couldn’t reach him.
“Heartbroken to learn of the death in the line of duty of NYS Trooper Nicholas Clark, this morning. May God bless him, his family and our great @nyspolice,” U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer wrote on Twitter.
Kiley appears to have had a Facebook page, but it’s been deleted. Online records indicate that his wife also works in education. Her page, too, has been deleted.
According to The Associated Press, Steve Kiley “had been listed as principal of Bradford Central School District. A message left at the school was not immediately returned.”
5. Nicholas Clark, Who Was Remembered as a Hero, Is the 26th Member of the New York State Police to Die in the Line of Duty in Recent Years
The New York Post reported that Clark is the the 26th member of the New York State Police to die in the line of duty in the past 12 years. Last year, Trooper Joel Davis was killed while responding to a domestic incident.
“Trooper Clark is a hero who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of serving and protecting others,” said New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association President Thomas Mungeer to The New York Post. “Despite the inherent dangers in today’s society, our Troopers have answered – and will continue to answer – the call of duty again and again.”