Fleeing suspect fires at police, shootout leaves him dead

LAKE GEORGE - A county police officer was wounded early Tuesday morning during a gun battle with a fleeing suspect who was wanted in an earlier late-night shooting - and the exchange of bullets left the suspect dead.

Warren County Sheriff's Office Sergeant Ralph Bartlett of Chestertown, a 17-year veteran of the agency, was struck in the abdomen in the shootout, according to county Undersheriff Robert Swan.

Police identified the deceased suspect as Patrick E. Penders, 59, of Bloody Pond Rd., a convicted felon who served time in state prison for various offenses, including shooting at a state Trooper and a separate robbery incident.

The chase ended at about 12:30 a.m. at the intersection of state Rtes. 9 and 9N near Northway Exit 21 around the corner from Goony Golf after officers laid out spiked sticks to deflate the suspect's tires, Swan said.

At least four police cars from the state Police and county Sheriff's Office converged on his vehicle and police ordered Penders to exit his SUV, Swan said. He got out of his older Dodge SUV soon after, but he was wielding a handgun. Penders ignored orders to drop the gun and then he started firing at police, Swan said.

One other sergeant may have been hit by a bullet in the exchange, Swan said, but his bullet-proof vest deflected it. Bartlett was wearing a similar vest, but a bullet apparently bypassed it, causing the injury. Bartlett was treated at Glens Falls Hospital and released several hours later.

As many as 40 police officers, including the entire county Investigation division, were on the scene through early morning accumulating evidence, Swan said. Route 9N from Exit 21 to Route 9 was closed to traffic for at least five hours.

Penders' Dodge was removed from the scene and stored in a Sheriff's office garage. Swan said the SUV bore a lot of bullet holes.

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