GARRISON - As mourners paid their respects yesterday to a tow-truck operator who was shot outside of his Route 9 garage on the afternoon of New Year's Eve, the Putnam County Sheriff's Office pressed forward in its investigation.
John Marcinak of Garrison, a 49-year-old father of three, was found fatally wounded on the side of the road in front of Garrison Garage around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. Responders initially thought he was the victim of a hit-and-run driver and rushed him to Hudson Valley Hospital Center in Cortlandt, where he died. Doctors determined that he had been shot several times.New York State Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to a conviction of the person or people responsible for the shooting. Callers to Crime Stoppers, at 866-313-8477, are guaranteed anonymity.
"What a terrible case," said Bob Keller of the nonprofit group, based in northern Westchester County. "We're really trying to keep this in front of people. I am convinced that someone knows something about this terrible crime and the reward offering will encourage them to call our hotline number and tell us what they know."
Putnam deputies set up a road block Friday on Route 9 near the crime scene and stopped motorists to ask if they had been in the area Wednesday or if they knew anything. Police have also urged people to call the Sheriff's Office at 845-225-4300.
"We have had numerous calls from people, inside and outside the community, and we are checking every lead that comes in to us," Chief Investigator A. Gerald Schramek said yesterday. "We are looking into every aspect of the investigation."
The death shocked the Garrison community, where Marcinak was well known - not only through his towing business but also as a man who was always willing to help others.
A funeral service is planned for 11 a.m. today at Clinton Funeral Home, 21 Parrott St., Cold Spring. Hundreds of mourners paid their respects during calling hours last night and Sunday.
Friends have described Marcinak as a dedicated father to his children, Julie, John and Joey. He also leaves wife, Janet, and two brothers, Andrew Marcinak of Fort Montgomery, N.Y., and Stephen Frohnhoefer of Wappingers Falls.
The Garrison Volunteer Fire Department, where Marcinak was a life member, is collecting donations for the Marcinak Children's Fund at the Fire Department, P.O. Box 252, Garrison, NY 10524.
Reach Terence Corcoran at 845-228-2275 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's an earlier story about John Marcinak from the same publication:
COLD SPRING - John Marcinak spent his life in his hometown of Garrison where, like his tow truck-driving father, he dedicated his life to pulling friends out of trouble.
"He'd give you anything he had and never expected anything in return," said Bob Maurice, one of Marcinak's childhood friends. "His father was like that."
Maurice was among scores of mourners yesterday to pay their respects to Marcinak, who was found with gunshot wounds in front of his towing business last week.
Marcinak, the 49-year-old owner and operator of Garrison Garage, was discovered mortally wounded on the side of Route 9 Wednesday afternoon. He leaves a wife, Janet, their daughter and two young sons.
The Putnam County Sheriff's Department is investigating.
The line of mourners yesterday stretched down the block and around the corner from the Clinton Funeral Home in Cold Spring, where longtime buddies remembered Marcinak as a loving father and a good friend whose passion for cars led him to rebuild a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air as a young man and to cheer for NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Sr.
But his dedication to towing was what his oldest friends remembered yesterday. Maurice, a truck mechanic from Beacon, said Marcinak was constantly at his father's side growing up, even going out on calls with his dad. Marcinak inherited the tow-truck business from his father, John C. Marcinak, who died in 2000.
"That tow truck never left without him," he said.
Hugh Moss, a landscaper from Cold Spring, said just two weeks ago, Marcinak offered to drive up to New Paltz to help Moss' 20-year-old daughter after she got into an accident.
"He was always on call," Moss said. "Everyone knows his phone number by heart. He really knew his business."
Bob Anthony, a construction-truck driver who lives in Toms River, N.J., remembered drinking Pepsi with Marcinak in his parents' home after church on Sundays. He, like others at yesterday's wake, never knew Marcinak to have a single enemy and were baffled that anyone would want him dead.
"He was a Good Samaritan struck down," he said.
John McDonald, another childhood friend who is a New York Police Department detective, said he was confident Putnam County investigators would find Marcinak's killer but that an arrest couldn't make up for the loss to his family or community.
"There's going to be a big hole in Garrison," he said.
Calling hours will continue from 5 to 8 p.m. today and a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at the Clinton Funeral Home, 21 Parrott St., Cold Spring. The Garrison Volunteer Fire Department is collecting donations for a fund dedicated to Marcinak's children.
Reach Rebecca Baker at email@example.com or 914-694-5064.