Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - Neighbors recall hearing gunshots on Steuben Street around 3 a.m. on Sunday. Hours later, police say Corey Hill was found dead inside the home of a woman he was trying to protect.
"He decided to do what most gentleman of his caliber would do, to see that she gets home safely. As a result, it cost him his life,” said Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler.
Police say Tanya Alfred confided in Hill, a co-worker, that she was concerned about her estranged husband's behavior. He agreed to escort her home after they met at a bar in Armory Square on Sunday night. Soon after they arrived on Steuben Street, George Alfred Jr. allegedly showed up with a gun, killing Hill and kidnapping his estranged wife.
By Sunday afternoon, a landlord noticed a door to the home was left open and contacted police. They spent hours trying to find Tanya Alfred and her children, who were staying with their paternal grandparents as part of a pre-arranged visitation.
Around 7:30 p.m., Tanya Alfred called her family from a payphone in Pennsylvania, saying her estranged husband had agreed to let her leave. She drove her car back to Syracuse. George Alfred stayed behind in Pennsylvania until he decided to turn himself in to police on Monday morning.
Tanya and George Alfred Jr. did not live together on Steuben Street. It's unclear how long they've been separated, but she had called police for help two months earlier.
"There was a domestic incident reported to the Town of Geddes on April 22 of this year, in which George Alfred allegedly choked Tanya Alfred and threatened to take the children out of state,” said Chief Fowler.
In that case, District Attorney William Fitzpatrick says Alfred was never arrested and he is trying to find out why.
Meanwhile, Syracuse's police chief describes Hill as perfect gentleman who died trying to do the right thing.
Experts say, in general, domestic violence cases are driven by a need for control. Victims often fear for the safety of loved ones.
"I think someone who thinks they have the right to hurt and humiliate and put fear in someone they are supposed to love and care about may take other people with them," said Randi Bregman, Executive Director of the Vera House.
Bregman says advocates often escort domestic violence victims to court and try to help them formulate a plan when the accused are released on their own recognizance quickly or offered bail.
“We have to look in New York, I think, a little bit harder at the possibility of being able to balance protecting those who are accused and may be innocent with the rights of our community and the right of those who are even victimized and I think we have some work to do.”
The Vera House has a 24-hour hotline for help at (315) 468-3260.
George Alfred Jr. is now in custody facing charges of second degree murder, kidnapping, and criminal possession of a weapon.