Trooper David C. Brinkerhoff (above) was killed on Wednesday while searching for a man suspected of shooting another New York state trooper.

Trooper Richard Mattson

SHITBIRD aka Travis D.Trim

MARGARETVILLE, N.Y. -- One state trooper was killed Wednesday morning in the hunt for a man suspected of shooting at least two other troopers, and a rural farmhouse was later surrounded by heavily armed officers and it was being searched by a police robot.

New York State Police Acting Superintendent Preston L. Felton identified the trooper as David C. Brinkerhoff, a member of the specially-trained Mobile Response Team and the second member of that unit to die during a manhunt since September.

Brinkerhoff and Trooper Richard Mattson were both shot at about 8:45 a.m. while searching the farm in Margaretville for Travis D. Trim, who is suspected of shooting a trooper Tuesday afternoon during a traffic stop nearby, Felton said. Brinkerhoff was hit at least once in the head and Mattson was wounded in the left arm. He was in serious but stable condition after surgery at Albany Medical Center, where he was taken by helicopter.

Chan Squires of Margaretville, witnessed one fusillade at around 10 a.m. as he was dropping his child off.

"They had a good 20 shots going back and forth. You could hear them ringing out," said Squires, who said he also heard the soft "poof" of a tear-gas container being fired into the house.

The farm compound surrounded by authorities, which neighbors described as a weekend residence, is in Arkville, a rural hamlet near Margaretville. An armored vehicle moved in and out of the property several times as police snipers took positions behind a stone wall in the compound, which includes two red barns. Dozens of police cars were at the site. Other officers were stationed on hilltops overlooking the farm or were shielded by trees and stone walls. There was no sign of activity from the house.

Felton said the house was being searched with a robot late Wednesday afternoon.

"I don't think there's anyway for this to turn out good now. Not after shooting a trooper. His goose is cooked," said Ruth Trim, the suspect's grandmother, in a telephone interview from her home in northern New York.

Several dozen reporters and local residents gathered on a small rise overlooking the house, about a half mile away.

"It's a pretty calm place. Usually the most activity the troopers have around here are DWI patrols," said Bill Day of nearby Andes.

Brinkerhoff, 29, was an 8-1/2 year state police veteran. He joined the MRT in early 2006. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, and 7-month-old daughter.

"Today, the New York State Police and the State of New York suffered a tremendous loss," New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer said in statement. "One of our best has fallen and another has been seriously wounded in the line of duty."

Spitzer appealed to the public to support the police.

"I ask all New Yorkers to keep the State Police in their thoughts and prayers during this harrowing time," he said.

The manhunt was touched off by the shooting of Trooper Matthew Gombosi, who was hit in the torso in this town on the edge of Catskill Park at about 3 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. He was saved from serious injury by his body armor, police said.

After the shooting, police searched for a Dodge Caravan that was later found abandoned. The minivan had been stolen Monday in St. Lawrence County, police said.

Trim, 23, is from North Lawrence, in St. Lawrence County about 10 miles south of the Canadian border.

Trim spent 2 months at the State University of New York-Canton during the fall semester of 2006 before withdrawing in mid-November, said Randy Sieminski, the school's director of public relations. He was registered in the school's motorsports performance and repair program.

Margaretville is about 65 miles southwest of Albany.

Last summer, Ralph "Bucky" Phillips led police on a five-month manhunt throughout heavily wooded western New York after breaking out of a county jail. During his time on the run, he shot one trooper during a traffic stop and two others who were searching for him, both members of a special tactics unit that was called in to hunt for the fugitive. One of those troopers later died.

Phillips was captured in September and is serving two life sentences.

After the intensive manhunt, the largest in New York history, the union that represents state troopers sharply criticized the way state police officials managed the search.

The latest shootings follow a hard year for state police. Besides the troopers Phillips shot before he was captured in September, another trooper was gunned down by a bank robber in March near Elmira.

Also, one trooper died last April near Syracuse after crashing his vehicle while chasing a speeding motorcyclist and another, a Marine Corps captain, was killed in August while on foot patrol in Fallujah, Iraq.