QUEENSBURY -- In a small ceremony about two weeks ago, Ralph C. Runnalls and Jacqueline A. Kegan said their vows and were married.
“Everything was very normal,” said Fort Ann Town Justice James Richardson, who wedded the pair before only five people in Runnalls’ home.
Normalcy faded Monday when, authorities said, Runnalls fired a bullet into the side of his new bride in a fit of romantic rage that saw him and Kegan’s former beau, Paul J. Wells, exchange between 19 and 22 bullets at Wells’ Queensbury home. Runnalls, 67, died from “several” shots to the head and torso, Warren County Sheriff Bud York said, but not before shooting Kegan and Wells with a .357 Magnum handgun in front of their 18-year-old son.
“There was probably a lot of panic in the house,” York said.
Kegan, 43, remained at Albany Medical Center on Tuesday, he said. The hospital would not provide information on her condition. York said State Police interviewed her Monday night.
Wells, 55, who authorities said acted in self-defense, was released after being treated for an injury to his shoulder or neck. He was interviewed Tuesday by investigators, York said, with an attorney at his side.
The sheriff provided further details Tuesday about the triple shooting, which he attributed to a “love triangle” that turned violent.
Runnalls fired three shots in total, chasing the two into the house at 1174 Bay Road after showing up angry and uninvited in his Volvo sedan, authorities said.
Wells returned fire from .22- and .32-caliber handguns inside his home, firing 16 to 19 rounds between the two weapons, York said. A shotgun the Sheriff’s Office initially reported was used by Wells was not fired, he said. Kegan does not appear to have fired a weapon.
York said it was unclear how many times Runnalls was struck.
Neither man had a pistol permit, York said. While that could leave Wells liable to be charged, York said the investigation is indicating he acted in justifiable self-defense.
“If it continues going the way it appears, he’s justified under the penal law to defend himself,” York said. “But that determination will be made by the district attorney.”
District Attorney Kate Hogan declined to comment, saying authorities were still gathering information. If her office deems it appropriate, the evidence would likely be presented to a grand jury whose members would decide whether Wells acted within the law.
Wells, 55, owns Go Slo Engineering, a motorcycle business on Route 149 on the town line between Queensbury and Fort Ann. The business was closed Tuesday.
He is represented by attorney Eric Schwenker, who did not return a call for comment.
A State Police forensic team worked at the scene of the shooting Tuesday. The home is located at the end of a wooded driveway opposite Bay Road Presbyterian Church. Wells has lived there since 1998, the Sheriff’s Office said, and Kegan has lived there in the past.
York attributed her presence there Monday to a “family meeting” that enraged Runnalls. York suggested Kegan intended to resume her relationship with Wells.
Kegan’s sister, Mary, would not discuss the case when reached by a Post-Star reporter Tuesday.
At a Monday press conference, Kegan’s last name was misspelled as “Keegan.”
The closest neighbor to 1174 Bay Road said he would often hear a loud motorcycle engine in the driveway late at night. He said he rarely spoke with the residents there. Another neighbor, Paul Stephenson, said Monday he spoke to Wells only once, when Stephenson’s dog wandered onto Wells’ property. He said he used to see a woman waiting for a school bus at the end of the driveway.
York said Runnalls and Wells were known to each other, but he was not aware of any past incidents between the two.
Runnalls was a welder who had a shop beside his home at 225 Buttermilk Falls Road in Fort Ann, where public records indicate he had lived since 1977. Kegan had moved in with him recently, authorities said.
Three men who identified themselves as Runnalls’ brother, son and friend were at the home Tuesday morning, but they would not discuss him or the incident that led to his death.
Runnalls’ next door neighbor, Ed Boyce, said Monday that tension had built in recent weeks between Wells and Runnalls. Boyce attended Runnalls’ recent wedding and expressed shock at Monday’s violence.
So, too, did Jim Ladd, who went to school with Runnalls and has lived down the road from him for decades.
“It shocked me. I couldn’t believe it,” he said Tuesday.
Lt. Steve Stockdale said Runnalls’ exact plans might never be known, but he said the evidence suggests he intended to kill both his wife and Wells.
“We can only infer ... his intent was to go in there and do as much damage as possible,” he said.