Firefighter, 20, Stabbed During New Year’s Party Fight
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The man murdered in the early hours of the new year has been identified as Wallkill resident and firefighter Justin Speights. The Silver Lake Fire District confirmed the 20-year-old's death in a Facebook posting Friday morning.
Speights was killed at a New Year's house party on Paddock Drive in the Town of Crawford, New York State Police said in a press release that did not initially identify Speights as the victim.
"As a member of the Silver Lake Fire District for 4 years, Justin was a hardworking and dedicated young man who would always be willing to help out his community and his fellow firefighters," Silver Lake Fire Company Public Information Officer Jeff Jaques wrote in the department's Facebook posting.
In his humble demeanor, Justin would always be one of the first to step up to the plate no matter what the task may be.
Speights was stabbed while trying to break-up a fight, the Times-Herald Record reported. NYSP Troop F Commander Maj. Joseph A. Tripodo confirmed Speights was stabbed, but said the investigation is ongoing and the 20-year-old's role in the altercation was not yet known.
The party was thrown by occupants of the house and had over 100 guests, Tripodo said.
Speights was transported to Orange Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
"In his humble demeanor, Justin would always be one of the first to step up to the plate no matter what the task may be," Jaques wrote on the Silver Lake Fire District Facebook page. "He had a bright future that was tragically taken away far too soon."
Speights graduated from Pine Bush High School in 2014, according to the Silver Lake Fire District post.
The New York State Police in Middletown, the Town of Crawford Police Department and the Orange County District Attorney's Office are investigating the homicide.
Authorities have not yet identified a suspect.
The New York State Police are asking anyone with video from the party or information to contact the state police in Middletown at (845) 344-5300.
"It would be most helpful if anybody at the party who could shed some light at what occurred could come to the Middletown barracks and speak to us," Tripodo said.
The NYSP Middletown barracks are located at 55 Crystal Run Road.