Three years since arson, looking for leads

By Haley Burton

July 8, 2013 Updated Jul 9, 2013 at 1:13 AM EDT

Ithaca, NY (WBNG Binghamton) This week marks three years since the home of an Ithaca Police Officer burned to the ground.

The arson at Bryan Bangs' home is still being investigated and police said leads are being pursued.

"It's still an open investigation. It's a horrible, horrible tragedy what happened," said Ithaca Public Information Officer Jamie Williamson. "Sgt. Bangs is a highly decorated police officer here and for this to happen is just a tragedy for his family, for the law enforcement community and to be honest, the Ithaca community in general. It shook all of us to the core."

On July 10, 2010, Bangs' home in Dryden was destroyed in an overnight fire. Bangs, an Ithaca police sergeant and 13-year veteran of the force at the time, was asleep at the time of the fire. He was able to escape the home and suffered minor injuries.

New York State Police ruled the fire an arson.

In February 2010, Sergeant Bangs shot and killed Shawn Greenwood after Greenwood tried to run over a police officer with a vehicle in Ithaca. Bangs was placed on administrative duty while an investigation took place, per department procedure.

In June of that year, a grand jury in Tompkins County cleared Bangs of any wrongdoing, finding his use of deadly force justified. His home was burned down shortly after the grand jury's decision was announced.

According to Williamson, Bangs has not been back on the job since, but is still employed by the police department.

"What happened to Bryan, unfortunate as it is, the reality of police work, is that it could happen to any of us," said Williamson.

Williamson said three years later, leads in the arson investigation are still coming in, but they are trickling away. The Ithaca Police Department is looking to bring the case to the forefront again.

"We're doing everything we can as a police department to make sure the person or persons that did this are brought to justice. Bryan deserves that. He's one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. He will give the shirt off his back for anybody," he said. "We have not forgotten what has happened."

There is a $20,000 reward leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible the fire at Bangs' home.

Anyone with information is asked to call New York State Police at (607) 347-4440.