An Erie County grand jury Thursday cleared a Buffalo police officer of criminal liability for shooting a Breckenridge Street man who reportedly threatened him with a knife.
Northwest District Officer Baudilio R. Rodriguez Jr., who was on duty when the shooting occurred, was cleared by the grand jury, but the man he shot, Luis Acosta, was indicted on two felony weapons possession charges in the July 30 incident.
John J. DeFranks, first deputy Erie County district attorney, confirmed the grand jury's actions in issuing a no-bill finding Rodriguez innocent of criminal wrongdoing and indicting Acosta, but he declined to comment further.
Acosta, 23, who recovered from a gunshot wound to the lower abdomen, is currently free on bail and expected to be arraigned next week.
Rodriguez, a U.S. Army veteran and 13-year member of the police force, voluntarily waived immunity from prosecution and testified before the panel Sept. 8.
Though Rodriguez declined to comment Thursday, Thomas H. Burton, the Buffalo police union attorney who represented him in the grand jury probe of the shooting, said the panel's findings were justified.
"Given the recent tragedies we've had with officers being shot in Western New York, it was good to see this officer going home in one piece," Burton said.
Burton said Rodriguez had no option but to shoot after Acosta came at the officer with a steak knife in a carriage house at 269 Breckenridge. That came after Acosta had threatened his mother and assaulted a female neighbor, Burton said.