NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Cartridge loading equipment, lead-tip bullets and material sufficient to manufacture 2,000 rounds of ammuntion was discovered yesterday in the school district office of Scott Empara, a working-foreman electrician employed by the City School District of New Rochelle.
Empara was suspended last week for 30 days with pay by the district last week after reports that he had made threats to kill school district employees. The New Rochelle Board of Education approved a resolution, recommended by Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne, the requires Empara to undergo psychiatric testing to determine if he is fit to return to work.
According to school district sources familiar with the matter, Joseph Nardozzi, an electrician working under Empara, discovered a cache of supplies and equipment for “loading” ammunition, basically making bullets, properly known as cartridges, by hand.
There were enough lead-tip bullet for manufacturing 2,000 rounds, according to one source.
Nardozzi sent an email to Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne, Assistant Superintendent Jeff White, FUSE President Martin Daly, and Asssistant to the Superintendent for Human Resources Joe Williams, B&G Director Arthur Rivera about the find on Wednesday May 13th.
Rivera responded by ordering Nardozzi to stand down and not call police. Rivera then dispatched his subordinate, André Houle, to Empara’s office at 88 Grove Street. Houle and Rivera are both consultants working for Aramark.
Houle packed up the equipment and supplies, put it in his car and drove away from the building.
There are conflicting reports as to whether anyone from the district contacted the New Rochelle Police and, if so, who. Some have Nardozzi filing a complaint, others say no, some say Security Director Bruce Daniele made informal contact with New Rochelle Police. Talk of the Sound believes Nardozzi filed a formal complaint on his own initiative and Daniele made an informal call on behalf of the district.
UPDATE 5/15: “There was no report of this incident,” said Police Commissioner Patrick Carroll in a follow up statement to Talk of the Sound. “We are still investigating the weapons allegations and threats.”
The New York State Education Department did not reply to an email requesting clarification on the legal question of a school employee loading ammunition on school grounds. One school official told Talk of the Sound Daniele claimed that the New Rochelle police were not interested in the manufacture of ammunition as a criminal matter.
According to several sources, it was an open secret for years that Empara spent many hours in his office each week “loading” ammunition which includes the period over the last school year when he is alleged to have been making death threats against various school district employees.
Captain Cosmo Costa, Records Access Office for the New Rochelle Police Department told Talk of the Sound there were no records of an incident report filed about the ammunition matter and referred further questions to New Rochelle Police Detective Captain Joseph Schaller, head of the Criminal Investigations Unit.
A lengthy email detailing various incidents and reports involving Empara, most already reported on Talk of the Sound, was sent by Robert Cox to Schaller framed by three questions:
- Is there an open investigation on a complaint filed by Joseph Nardozzi (or anyone else for that matter) this week about cartridge/bullet loading equipment and material sufficient to manufacture 2,000 rounds of pistol ammo in the office of Scott Empara at 88 Grove Street?
- Am I the only one in town who finds all of this disturbing?
- Why would NRPD take a report like the one made on 12/19/14 by Joe Williams and then acquiesce to the CSDNR request that Empara NOT be contacted, so that no investigation is done at that time, given the serious nature and specificity of the threats, especially in light of the NYS SAVE law passed after Columbine and then the focus on this exact type of concern after Sandy Hook?
A copy of the email was forwarded to Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne, School Board President Lianne Merchant and Vice President Rachel Relkin for purposes of documenting that all three were informed of the incident and the various allegations against Scott Empara.
No reply was received from Schaller, Osborne, Merchant or Relkin.
New Rochelle Police Commissioner Patrick J. Carroll, not contacted by Talk of the Sound, did reply.
Carroll issued a statement saying that New Rochelle Police are investigating what he termed “serious allegations” against Scott Empara.
“These allegations are currently under investigation by the Criminal Investigation Unit,” said Carroll.
Carroll added that Talk of the Sound would be provided the findings and any resulting police actions as a result of the investigation.
Lead-tip bullets are typically used in handguns (rifles typically use copper-tipped bullets). Westchester County Clerk Tim Idoni has previously confirmed to Talk of the Sound that Empara does not have a pistol license. This raises a question: why would a person who does not have a pistol license have supplies to make 2,000 rounds of lead-tip bullets typically suitable only for handguns? Empara’s ex-wife has told sources that Empara owned handguns.