Hundreds of people packed a small upstate funeral home Saturday to remember Edward Wilkins, who was shot to death by the NYPD officer husband of his lover.
Wilkins, 20, was killed Sunday after Sean Armstead, 36, trailed his wife, Alexandra Vanderheyden, 35, to a Wallkill hotel for her apparent rendezvous with Wilkins.
Armstead chased after Wilkins on NY-211 and crashed his car into the young man’s. Wilkins got out and ran for his life as Armstead fired and fatally wounded him, before killing himself.
“It’s a terrible tragedy. He just turned 20. His birthday was April 12,” said a woman who identified herself as Wilkins’ grandmother but would not provide her name.
“I blame the woman,” she added.
There was no sign of Vanderheyden, who lives in Port Jervis, at the wake, which took place at the William M. Gagan Funeral Home in Pine Bush. Wilkins was said by sources to have worked at the older woman’s dog walking business.
Mourners, including high school friends of Wilkins, were provided with small remembrance cards bearing a photo of a smiling Wilkins in a cap and gown from his 2020 graduation from Pine Bush High School.
Poster boards of the young victim lined the walls. On one board were certificates of his accomplishments including for security guard training and film production and a photo of him winning a wrestling match, his hand held up in the air signaling victory.
Other photos showed a younger Wilkins on Little League teams. In one, he’s wearing a Boston Red Sox jersey and grinning for the camera.
His obituary on the funeral home website described him as “a lover of all things baseball” who was working as a security officer at Resorts World Catskills in Monticello and “looking forward to a future in Corrections.”
Wilkins lay in a brown casket clothed in a baby blue button down shirt with a teddy bear by his side.
“It’s not fair, it’s not fair, it’s not fair,” wailed a woman in front of his casket while hugging a mourner.
A friend who identified herself as Amelia called Wilkins “a great person.”
“He never did anything that he wasn’t supposed to. He was always nice to everyone. He was like my brother,” she said, breaking down in tears.