A town sewer crew was working on Kellwood Drive last week when they heard screams and took action.
Pat McHugh and Joe Galluzzo of the Irondequoit Department of Public Works had just started working their way through a series of sewer calls when the pair arrived at a home on Kellwood Drive.
They were in the basement of the home at 31 Kellwood Drive, Galluzzo recalled, when they heard a little boy screaming. They chalked it up to a fall off a bike.
Then they heard a man yelling what sounded like, “I’ve been stabbed,” McHugh said.
The two ran up the basement stairs and found a man standing on the porch. They described him as “a bloody mess.” One of the men went to the man’s aid while the other went to their DPW truck outside and called 911.
The man outside was delirious, holding his stomach and walking “like 100 miles an hour,” Galluzzo said, but kept saying, “He’s cutting her up.”
“I turned to Pat and said, ‘What do we do?’” said Galluzzo, who has worked for the town just seven months. McHugh, who has been with the town DPW 16 years, answered simply, “I don’t know.”
As new details emerge in a case police say is completed, the community remains stunned by what has been ruled by the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s office as a double homicide and suicide on Kellwood Drive on Monday, Oct. 22.
Police say Christopher Gokey, 45, stabbed and killed his estranged wife, Sandra Gokey, 37, when she came to the home that morning with friend David Winters, 60, of the Wayland-Cohocton area, to pick up some of her belongings. Police believe Christopher Gokey also stabbed Winters, the man who made it outside, who later died at the hospital. Gokey then turned the knife on himself.
Galluzzo and McHugh may never forget the day’s events, but others will remember their heroic actions.
Since the child they had heard was nowhere to be seen, and there was a blood trail leading from a neighboring house, the two felt they needed to do something. that morning.
“At that point, we were pretty terrified,” McHugh admitted, but they each grabbed a tool – a pick axe and a shovel – from their truck and headed to 21 Kellwood Drive.
The screen door of the home was closed, but the front door was open, Galluzzo said. They heard no screaming or sound whatsoever and knocked on the screen.
“Then a man covered with blood came around the corner. ... He had a fish filet-type knife, also covered with blood, that he was twisting in his left hand,” Galluzzo said.
“There was this look on his face ... like he wasn’t looking at us, but through us,” he added, “and he had kind of sad eyes.”
The man told the pair that “everybody is dead,” then slammed the front door shut.
Galluzzo and McHugh determined they wouldn’t enter the house, and found out about the same time that a neighbor on the other side had the boy, who was OK.
McHugh decided to keep an eye on the house, in case someone fled, while Galluzzo did what he could to help the victim, who by then was lying on a lawn.
A woman at 31 Kellwood came out with towels and he placed them on the man’s wounds and tried to keep talking to him to keep him awake, Galluzzo said.
“It was pretty intense,” Galluzzo said, recalling that the entire incident felt like it took “a long time,” but was probably only a matter of minutes.
“It makes you realize that anything can happen,” he said.
DPW Foreman Keith Kreiser calls the pair’s actions that day heroic. Galluzzo and McHugh will be recognized for their bravery and “good instincts” at an upcoming Town Board meeting, according to Irondequoit Supervisor Mary Ellen Heyman. She added that the police department response that day was also exceptional.
“We just wanted to try to help somebody ... anybody,” Galluzzo said, adding quietly that he just wishes Winters had survived.
After the incident, Galluzzo subsequently took a day off and McHugh took two – but not until they finished the neighbor’s sewer repair on Kellwood that Monday afternoon.
Both had trouble sleeping last week.
“That first night, especially, I was definitely sleeping with one eye open all night,” Galluzzo said.
The stabbings were the end result of what police say was a history of domestic violence in the Gokey home.
“In situations such as this, either party needs to know that they can call police if they need to go get things and the police will meet them there,” Police Chief Richard Boyan said. “We will escort them.”
Linda Quinlan can be reached at (585) 394-0770, Ext. 350, or at firstname.lastname@example.org