Hundreds of people packed a small upstate funeral home on Saturday to remember Edward Wilkins, who was shot by the NYPD officer, her lover’s husband.
Wilkins, 20, was killed on Sunday after Sean Armstead, 36, dragged his wife, Alexandra Vanderheyden, 35, to a hotel in Wallkill for her apparent date with Wilkins.
Armstead chased Wilkins on NY-211 and crashed his car into the young man’s. Wilkins got out and ran for his life as Armstead shot and mortally wounded him, before committing suicide.
“It is a terrible tragedy. He just turned 20. Her birthday was April 12,” said a woman who identified herself as Wilkins’ grandmother but did not give her name.
“I blame the woman,” she added.
There was no sign of Vanderheyden, who lives in Port Jervis, at the wake, which was held at William M. Gagan Funeral Home in Pine Bush. Sources say Wilkins worked at the older woman’s dog-walking business.
Mourners, including high school friends of Wilkins, received small keepsake cards bearing a photo of a smiling Wilkins wearing a cap and gown from his 2020 graduation from Pine Bush High School.
Billboards of the young victim lined the walls. On a board were certificates of his accomplishments, including training security guards and producing films, and a photo of him winning a wrestling match, his hand raised in the air signaling victory.
Other photos showed a younger Wilkins on Little League teams. In one, he wears a Boston Red Sox jersey and smiles at the camera.
His obituary on the funeral home’s website described him as “a lover of all things baseball” who worked as a security guard at Resorts World Catskills in Monticello and “looks forward to a future in corrections.”
Wilkins lay in a brown coffin wearing a sky blue button-up shirt with a teddy bear by his side.
“It’s not fair, it’s not fair, it’s not fair,” cried a woman in front of her coffin as she hugged a mourner.
A friend who identified herself as Amelia called Wilkins a “great person.”
“He never did anything he wasn’t supposed to do. He was always nice to everyone. He was like my brother,” she said, bursting into tears.