The Long Island dad gunned down in a Marriott hotel during Family Weekend at upstate Marist College was in the lobby just grabbing a cup of coffee and getting ready to check out when he was killed, horrified neighbors told The Post on Tuesday.
“He went up for parents’ weekend. That’s how it happened, he went to the lobby to get coffee, to check out. Wrong place, wrong time,” Ken Farrell, the next-door neighbor of slain dad-of-three Paul Kutz, told The Post from his East Northport home.
Kutz, a 53-year-old accountant, was in the lobby of a Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Poughkeepsie on Sunday morning when he was allegedly shot and killed by Roy Johnson, 35, who opened fire after getting into an argument with hotel staff.
Johnson had been staying at the hotel with his buddy Devin Taylor, who was also arrested in connection with the shooting and charged with two counts of weapons possession.
Kutz, who neighbors called a “great guy,” has three sons – a pair of twins who previously graduated from Marist College and the boy who is attending the school now.
“He’s active in the community and we’ve lost a good man,” Farrell, 74, said of the victim. “He coaches kids in basketball. He’s a CPA, he had his own firm. Always helping out, answering any questions, trying to help people.
“He’s salt of the earth, playing ball on his lawn with his kids. Wonderful man. Great father. I talked with him three or four times a week. He’d keep an eye on our house when I’m away. I’m shocked and upset. We all are.”
Farrell, a retired Nassau County police officer who was previously shot in the line of duty, called rising crime “a tragedy for all Americans.”
“We have plenty of good laws but recidivism, drug addiction, it’s a curse!” Farrell said.
“It begins with politicians trying to curry favor with a bunch of criminals and we all end up paying the price.”
Johnson, who was charged with murder in connection with the shooting, previously did time upstate for robbery and burglary and was released on parole in August 2018, state prison records show.
Taylor also did time in prison for burglary and was released on parole in May 2019, the records show.
The men were apparently homeless and living out of a room at the hotel and had been smoking a PCP-like substance before the shooting, law-enforcement sources told NBC.