LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Latham home where a murder-suicide happened is being demolished.
The burned house on Schalren Drive is a constant reminder of the tragedy that happened five months ago when Colonie police officer Israel Roman killed his wife, his youngest son and himself. Their 15-year-old son, Noah, was the only survivor. He was at a basketball game at Shaker High School at the time of the fire.
Police called the incident a senseless act by one of their own when they released the timeline of events leading up to the murder-suicide.
Police aren’t exactly sure when Israel killed his wife, Deborah, and Nathan, but they said he shot them each once with his service pistol, and then brought them into the master bedroom and laid them on the bed. He then used an accelerant to start a fire, went back into the bedroom, and shot himself.
The “why” of the tragedy remains a mystery to neighbors like Harvey Friedman, who let the Roman boys swim in his pool.
“It’s shocking,” he said. “I didn’t have a close personal relationship, but I like the way they carried themselves.”
Three months later, the burned out shell of a home remained. The neighbors started to complain to the town and it took five months to get to this point.
People living on Shalren Drive say it’s going to be a relief to see the house’s blackened remains, or smell the burned wood anymore.
They say it brings up memories of what happened here, and that demolishing the house is the first step in moving forward.
A bicycle, piles of clothes, and a mattress could be seen falling from the crumbled remains of the Roman home.
Neighbors who stood by watching the demolition Wednesday, like Bud Lindner and his wife, say looking at the charred house for the past five months was a constant reminder of the tragedy.
Others living nearby, like Mary Kay Frederick say they’re still in shock about what happened.
“I just felt so at peace that a police officer lived across the street,” said Frederick. “In case something ever happened to me I could just call him.”
Neighbors remember the Romans as a good family.
“Izzy was a friend” said Frederick. “He would wave to us and chat with us every once in a while about things in the neighborhood.”
Israel Roman’s brother stood silently watching as crews crushed the walls and ceiling of the home.
Frederick says instead of seeing the blackened home from her front windows, she’ll now see something else.
“I’ll see an empty hole,” says Frederick. “Well you know there’s a reason there’s an empty hole there. We probably all have an empty hole because of what’s happened.”
Neighbors say over the past several months they’ve still been able to smell the charred wood from the home in the air. It’s just one more reminder of what happened there.