The Binghamton police officer who was killed in the line of duty a half-century ago initially wanted to become a cop in New York City but his family convinced him that would be too dangerous

26-year-old William Holbert Jr. was shot in the head when he responded to a reported family disturbance in Binghamton's First Ward on July 17, 1972.

Holbert was pronounced dead on arrival at Binghamton General Hospital.

According to The Evening Press, Holbert was fatally wounded early in the morning at a residence on Baxter Street. Another officer, Donald Edwards, was shot in the shoulder. He survived and eventually returned to work for the police department.

The shooter - a 46-year-old man who was a Binghamton School District custodian - was wounded in the incident. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

William Holbert had married his wife, Sandra, in Germany while he was serving in the United States Army. He had been with the Binghamton police department for just over two years when he died.

50 years later, Sandra remains in Broome County, living in the town of Fenton. On Monday, she recalled that terrible morning when a priest showed up at the family's West Side apartment and informed her of Bill's death.

The couple's daughters - 6-year-old Veronica and 1-and-a-half-year-old Tracy - were sleeping the living room. They'd been playing "camp out" with their mom.

Sandra Holbert said her husband "always believed in people" and "just wanted to help." She said he had wanted to move to New York City to join the police department there. She said his family "felt that was too dangerous" so he become a police officer in his hometown.

Sandra said of his line-of-duty death: "It was just a tragic thing." She added: "I was really proud of him."

Photo: Binghamton Police Department
Photo: Binghamton Police Department
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Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: or (607) 545-2250. For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.

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