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Memorial vandalized, hurt feelings endure in wake of Ulster County slaying

A memorial for a man who was fatally shot in Ulster County is causing controversy between two of the families involved in the tragedy.

Blaise Gomez

Apr 25, 2022, 8:46 PM

Updated 810 days ago

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A memorial for a man who was fatally shot in Ulster County is causing controversy between two of the families involved in the tragedy. 
“We are getting flipped off, getting called obscenities,” says Mary Rodgers. “My kids can’t even go down the road.” 
Mary Rodgers, from Shawangunk, says the family of 29-year-old Michael Hankins blames her daughter, who was dating him, for his death.  
The two were together several months when her daughter’s ex-boyfriend and father of their child, 26-year-old Walter Post, fatally shot Hankins in his car last January on Vinegar Hill Road in Shawangunk.  
Post is charged with murder and awaiting trial. 
While the families continue to grieve, the memorial for Hankins now appears to be making tensions worse while the family is in the neighborhood. 
“Things began to change in mid-February,” says Rodgers. “We got an ugly delivery here with a nasty note and then the cyberbullying started.” 
The Hankins family has not responded to those claims but tells News 12 they’re upset that they’ve had to relocate the memorial several times, claiming it was vandalized. 
They gave News 12 pictures of it spray painted, but Rodgers denies any involvement. 
 “Getting even isn’t a solution. Having it taken away is," says Rogers. 
Town officials say they’re aware of the tension between the families and have asked the Hankins to remove it numerous times since it’s a hazard so close to the road. 
Rodgers says she’s offering to pay for a permanent memorial for the victim at an alternate location.  
Town of Shawangunk officials say they’re considering removing the memorial themselves and say police have also been notified.  


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