Friday, February 8, 2019




Putnam Valley teen dies from apparent accidental gunshot

Knapp (family photo)

PUTNAM VALLEY - Funeral services were held Saturday at the Yorktown Funeral Home in Shrub Oak for Elias Knapp, 17, a Putnam Valley High School senior, who died from an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on the evening of February 1.

The Putnam 9-1-1 Dispatch Center in Carmel received a call at 7:45 p.m. reporting the shooting at the Knapp residence at 56 Ridge Avenue in Putnam Valley.

Deputies Brian Neary and Shawn Iarussi rushed to the scene and found the victim and three of his friends inside the home. The gravely injured teen was still breathing at the time and an EM STAR paramedic requested an immediate response from a medivac helicopter.

Mahopac Falls Fire Department EMS personnel arrived moments later and transported the boy to a makeshift helipad where he was airlifted to the Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla. He later died of his injuries.

Sheriff Robert Langley said the investigation into the shooting was continuing.     

Putnam Valley school Superintendent Fran Wills called the incident “horrifying. We are all heartbroken and are trying to comfort and support students and staff.”

Dr. Wills encouraged parents to “give your children the opportunity to express their feelings as a tragic event such as this often upsets a young person’s life.”

Former Putnam Valley High School Assistant Principal and current Putnam Valley Supervisor Sam Oliverio recalled Elias as a freshman during the retired educator’s final year on the job. “Elias was an athlete and a most affable young man.”

Elias’ parents, Helena and Steven, remembered their son as an “incredible person who enjoyed the outdoors, hiking, camping and riding his dirt bike. He loved playing video games, music and spending time with family and friends. Elias had a special connection with animals especially his dogs and had an unrivaled and witty sense of humor.”

In addition to his parents, Elias is survived by his sisters, Saara and Majia and his grandparents.

The family noted that “Elias’ life and memory continue to serve through the generous gift of organ donation.”

Helena and Steve Knapp have asked the community to “consider volunteering your time at an organization of your choice in Elias’ memory.”


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