A week after an armed shooter went on a brokerage rampage that killed two brokers, the Watertown, New York, community is struggling to make sense of the loss.
On April 28, an agent who once worked at BridgeView Real Estate Services in Watertown drove up to the brokerage in a gray 2020 Ford F-150 pickup truck and opened fire. Brokers and co-owners of the agency Maxine Quigg, 50, and Terence O’Brien, 53, were fatally shot while suspected shooter Barry K. Stewart, 55, fled the scene. A State Police K9 unit found him off the roadway with a self-inflicted, fatal gunshot wound.
The shooting rocked the close-knit community in upstate New York and sent shock waves throughout real estate agencies across the country. Over the weekend, dozens of people came out to the town’s central square to honor the lives of Quigg and O’Brien — they were remembered by many as loving parents, caring neighbors and dedicated real estate professionals.
“Terry coached at JCC, he coached lacrosse, retired from the Department of Corrections, 25 years there,” Watertown Mayor Jeffrey Smith told local Newschannel 9. Quigg, he said, was a personal friend who “was on our library board for over a decade. Her husband was an ER physician for years and she was on the Y board.”
Touching scene here in Watertown. A vigil is being held for Terry O’Brien and Maxine Quigg, the two victims from Wednesday’s shooting. Hundreds are here. pic.twitter.com/LBb0OLkrY1
— John Pirsos (@JohnPirsos) May 2, 2021
The tragic deaths of Quigg and O’Brien have left BridgeView Real Estate Services without leaders. Local news outlet NNY360 reported that someone within the 30-person company had offered to step up while the brokerage deals with the tragedy and figures out a way to continue forward. Very little information still exists over Stewart’s motive but WWNY reported that he worked at the brokerage up until March.
“They are going to appoint an associate broker probably pretty soon to be a temporary broker, and all deals can continue on,” Lance M. Evans, executive officer of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors, told NNY360.
Throughout the country, brokers issued outpouring of grief and support. Mass shootings have been on the rise throughout the U.S. in recent years, and agents, who have to be highly visible both online and in their communities, are sometimes targets.
“The National Association of Realtors is heartbroken by what occurred this week in Watertown,” President Charlie Oppler said in a statement. “Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the loved ones of those whose lives were taken from them, and we offer our full support to members of the community and real estate industry who were impacted by Wednesday’s tragedy.”