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Intruder pointed handgun at Buffalo police officer 3 times before officer fired, attorney says

A home-invasion suspect pointed a loaded .44 magnum revolver at a Buffalo officer three times Tuesday night before the officer shot him in the torso, the officer’s attorney said.

“I’m confident that this use of deadly force will be determined to be lawful,” Buffalo Police Benevolent Association attorney Thomas H. Burton said. “The officer waited until the third time the handgun was pointed at him until he fired. Given the nature of the weapon aimed at him, this three-year veteran is a very lucky cop.”

An Internal Affairs investigation is underway into the police-involved shooting. Police officials have said that the suspect was taken to Erie County Medical Center, where he was listed in stable condition following the shooting in the city’s Grant-Ferry area.

Burton wouldn’t identify the officer, a Central District patrolman who’s also a National Guard officer, until Buffalo police release his name.

The 39-year-old suspect also has not been identified.

At about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Buffalo police were called to a home invasion in progress in the first block of California Street, south of West Ferry Street and west of Grant Street.

Burton provided a recounting of the incident, based on what the officer told him:

The officer responded to the home invasion call, saw the front door open, announced he was a Buffalo police officer and walked into the living room area of the home.

“He sees someone at the far end of the room, dressed in black and almost all of his face covered in black, from top to bottom,” Burton said.

The intruder looked as if he was trying to put something into a waistband or a bag, the officer told Burton. The man then stepped into and out of the shadows, before bumping into the officer and pointing a revolver at him, the attorney said.

The officer had time only to yell out “gun,” to warn his partner, before the man ran toward the front door and pointed the revolver at him again. The police officer then chased the man outside, onto the sidewalk, where the weapon was pointed at him a third time.

“The officer tries to seek cover behind a tree and fires one round into the upper torso,” Burton said. “Despite a torso shot from the officer, it took three cops to subdue this guy.”

The officer has been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard policy in police-related shootings.

“It appears the use of force was appropriate under the circumstances,” Buffalo police spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge said earlier in a statement.

email: gwarner@buffnews.com and mgryta@buffnews.com