August 3 marks the 27th anniversary since the line-of-duty death of a young City of Binghamton Police officer.

Lee Barta was gunned down in 1995 while looking for a work-release suspect on the North side of the city of Binghamton.

Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News
Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News

Barta had responded with other officers to Liberty Street shortly after 3 p.m. looking for 19-year-old Edmond Travis III, who had run away from a work assignment while serving time for a burglary conviction. While searching a home at 125 Liberty Street, where authorities had gotten word that Travis had been seen on the porch, the Kirkwood teen emerged from a closet and opened fire, discharging several rounds and killing Officer Barta.

Hundreds of officers hunted for Travis after the shooting and were assisted in the search by neighbors who reported sightings of the fugitive.

Travis committed suicide seven hours after the shooting when police located and surrounded him as he hid in the basement of a nearby home on Frederick Street.

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The Lee Barta Community Center now stands near the site of the shooting, providing services to the community since 2008. Ten years after opening, the center underwent a massive expansion to include update facilities, food pantry and educational programs.  Thousands of dollars in scholarships have also been granted in Officer Barta’s name.

Barta had been a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.  He had been on the Binghamton Police Force four years before his end-of-watch on that hot summer day.

Prior to joining the Binghamton Police, Barta had been with the Broome County Sheriff’s Office.

He had his wife were expecting their second son, only just learning that Mary was pregnant.  Their second son was born eight months after his father was killed.

One of the slain officer’s sons went on to become a Binghamton police officer.

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