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Elite NY state trooper dies in training accident

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New York State Police photos New York State Police photos
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

A veteran cop with the New York State Police's elite Special Operations Response Team was killed in a training accident in western New York Wednesday, authorities said.

Trooper Ross M. Riley was in the middle of high-angle rescue training at Letchworth State Park, southwest of Rochester, when he fell from a ledge and into Wolf Creek, according to a police news release.

Riley was taken to a local hospital where he died, police said. He was 44.

"Following this unfortunate tragedy, our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Trooper Ross Riley. Trooper Riley was a devoted member of our State Police force, committed to protecting New Yorkers and ensuring their safety," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in the statement. "His dedication to his work is commendable and his service, no doubt, touched the lives of many. The contributions he made as a member of the New York State Police will never be forgotten."

The 17-year veteran of the State Police was a former Marine who served in the first Gulf War, police said. He was a member of SORT's west regional unit, based in Collins Center, a hamlet south of Buffalo, but he was assigned to Field Command Emergency Management in Albany. SORT troopers carry out often risky and dangerous operations, including counterterrorism, hostage rescue, fugitive arrests, disaster relief, and more, according to the State Police website.

Riley leaves behind a wife and three daughters. His wife, Heidi Riley, is a State Police station commander.

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