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Father fatally stabbed by son during Zoom chat, police say

About 20 people were tuned in to a Zoom conference call just after noon on Thursday when 72-year-old Dwight Powers unexpectedly slumped from his chair and disappeared off-screen.

Near where Powers had been sitting in his Amityville, N.Y., home, his 32-year-old son, Thomas Scully-Powers, suddenly appeared, standing naked, witnesses told police. Several people on the video chat dialed 911.

‘‘They all did the right thing,’’ Suffolk County Police Detective Lieutenant Kevin Beyrer, commanding officer of the homicide unit, told Newsday. ‘‘They were all concerned about their friend. It was horrible that they had to witness this.’’

Officers later found Powers stabbed to death in his home, killed by his son, police say. He said witnesses recounted watching Powers fall and hearing heavy breathing over the call.


It’s unclear if any of the people on the video call actually saw the son stab Powers, Beyrer told Newsday.

‘‘We don’t know what they witnessed. There were a number of people on this conference call,’’ he told the paper.

The fatal stabbing of Powers appears to be the first slaying to occur on a Zoom chat during the coronavirus pandemic.

Police did not release any information on a suspected motive in the killing, though Beyrer told Newsday police do not think the alleged murder was related to the pandemic.

Police also declined to describe the nature of the Zoom call, citing privacy concerns.

An unnamed witness told WABC that people watched as Scully-Powers stripped the sheets from a bed and laid them on the ground, as if to cover something.

A police spokesman told The Washington Post that Scully-Powers then jumped from a second-story window and fled the scene.

Scully-Powers was arrested about a mile away just before 1 p.m.