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When Jamar J. Mack was involved in a faked robbery in 2002, a police officer ended up dead.

When Mack was involved with a failed robbery Monday -- less than five months after being released from prison for the 2002 crime -- another officer got shot, and Mack ended up dead.

Jamar J. Mack, 21, was shot dead by Niagara Falls Police Officer Robert Gee in a shootout outside a house at 2234 Pierce Ave., in the city's north end.

Detectives said they believed the 10:30 p.m. shooting was the result of a failed drug robbery.

Officer Charles Fink, a nine-year veteran of the force, was shot in the left shoulder during the exchange of gunfire.

Fink, who was wearing a bullet proof vest, was treated and released from Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.

"He's doing fine," Detective Capt. Ernest Palmer said during a Tuesday afternoon press conference.

Police spent Tuesday hunting two other masked suspects, believed to be driving a blue, late-model Dodge Durango truck.

Mack was released from state prison in July after serving nearly two years for his part in a faked robbery in 2002 that resulted in the death of Buffalo Police Officer James A. Shields.

Shields, 36, and his partner, Kimberly Monteforte, 36, responded to an armed robbery call at the A-Plus Market on Delaware and West Delavan avenues.

Shields crashed their patrol car into a tree to avoid hitting another car while he and Monteforte were chasing two men supposedly involved in the robbery.

Shields died from his injuries. His partner was injured, but survived.

Police later determined the robbery was faked, and that the store clerks and two others -- including Mack -- staged the $600 robbery, then split the money, police said.

"Officer Shields is missed by this department and his family," Buffalo Police Commissioner Rocco J. Diina said Tuesday. "Unfortunately, (Mack's) actions once again came close to a police officer losing his life. I think this just highlights the danger our officers encounter in protecting the community."

Since being released from prison for his role in the 2000 faked robbery, Mack was also wanted by Buffalo police for his involvement in a morning home invasion Nov. 9 on West Delavan Avenue. Mack and three other men were believed to be responsible for raiding an apartment at 228 W. Delavan with a shotgun at about 9 a.m. that day.

One of the men held two victims inside at gunpoint while the others robbed and beat another male victim. They stole $4,500 cash, a gold bracelet, credit cards and identification, according to Buffalo police reports.

Monday's incident began when Niagara Falls police responded to a report of a burglary in progress in the Pierce Avenue house. When Fink and Gee arrived, three masked suspects burst from a side door of the house.

Mack fired two blasts from a shotgun, Palmer said. The first struck the patrol car about 30 feet away. The second hit Fink in the shoulder, barely an inch from the edge of his bullet-proof vest. Fink went down on the street between the patrol car and the house.

Gee, a 34-year police veteran and the department's former chief firearms instructor, fired seven rounds and Mack fell to the ground, Palmer said.

With police radios reporting "Officer down," police units and ambulance personnel from Rural/Metro Medical Services converged on the scene.

Detectives are still investigating the shootings. Anyone with any information is asked to call the department's Criminal Investigation Division at 286-4553.

Mack was not known to Niagara Falls police. His address was given as Crown Point Lane in East Amherst, Palmer said, but Mack has had several other addresses.

He was one of six children whose parents live in Williamsville. His mother, Gloria, had just two words when asked how she was coping with his death.

"I'm praying," she said.

The Pierce Avenue house had been raided by a federal drug enforcement agents in April. No drugs were found in the house Monday night, Palmer said, although a stolen .25-caliber handgun was recovered.

Several adults and at least two children were inside the house during the robbery attempt. None of them was injured, Palmer said.

Officers Gee and Fink have been placed on administrative leave, which is routine after a police shooting, Palmer said.

Fink is the first Niagara Falls police officer to be shot in the line of duty in 28 years.

Former officer Andrew Ligammari was shot in the line of duty while arresting a burglary suspect in November 1976. Ligammari's police badge deflected the bullet and saved his life, police said. He is now a Niagara Falls lawyer.

The last time a Niagara County police officer was shot in the line of duty was on Feb. 9, 2003, when Capt. Lawrence Eggert and Officer Steven Ritchie of the Lockport Police Department were seriously injured during a shootout with Jason Kanalley at a Lockport mobile home park. Kanalley, 26, was being sought in connection with a shooting earlier outside a Lockport bar. He then died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Both officers have since returned to work.

News Staff Reporter T.J. Pignataro contributed to this story.


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