Friend & Co-worker Remembers Matt Leach Fondly
UPDATE 7/24/12, 7p.m. - Rochester, N.Y. --- On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday the family of Matthew Leach will greet the community and further learn what he meant to so many people.
Leach, 37, was shot and killed early Saturday morning while in a motel room in Old Forge, Herkimer County. The gunman was Leach’s father Michael, a 59-year-old retired Rochester Police Captain and currently a part-time officer with the Perry Police Department in Wyoming County.
New York State Police say Michael Leach mistook his son for an intruder in the hotel room they were both sharing.
Calling hours for Leach began Tuesday (6p-9p) at the Bartolomeo & Perotto Funeral Home on Vintage Lane in Greece. They continue Wednesday (2p-4p & 7p-9p) with services scheduled for Thursday at 10 a.m. at St. John the Evangelist Church on W. Ridge Road.
Leach is remembered as a family man who married his wife about two years ago and spent lots of time with his close friends and “brothers” in the Punishers Motorcycle Club. It was a semi-annual trip with that club that had Leach and his father in Old Forge this past weekend.
Aaron James was a friend and co-worker of Leach’s for more than ten years. Both most recently worked for RDG Security at a number of nightspots in Rochester’s East End.
"He had leadership qualities that were out of this world, you would never find somebody that is as loyal and humble as Matt,” James said of his friend. “[He] always talked about his family a lot, talked about his love for coaching and wrestling, loved his kids, loved us down here he was just the ultimate team player.”
Leach grew up as an accomplished athlete and he later turned his passion for wrestling into a passion for coaching. He touched many young lives while coaching at as many as three local high schools including Greece Athena, Pittsford, and Brockport.
"He'd talk about it the days leading up to [a match] and then when he would come back he was almost that proud parent,” James said of Leach’s excitement for coaching. “You could see the pride in his face no matter how the kids did he was always proud of them.”
A Perry Village Official tells 13WHAM News that Michael Leach remains in his role as a part-time police officer for the village but he will not be scheduled to work a shift until all the matters before him have been handled.
New York State Police took Michael Leach to the hospital immediately following the shooting out of concern for his own well-being. As of Tuesday afternoon he was no longer admitted at St. Luke’s Hospital in Utica but his exact whereabouts are not known.
A source close to the investigation tells 13WHAM News that Michael Leach made contact with a lawyer shortly after the incident, meaning he was not interviewed for any extensive period of time. That same source said they, “guarantee this case will go to a grand jury,” for a final determination on what, if any, charges Leach could or should face.
Herkimer County Acting District Attorney Jeff Carpenter tells 13WHAM News that he is scheduled to review evidence in this case, including an autopsy report, with investigators late Thursday afternoon.