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Niagara County Sheriff’s deputy recognized for heroics in Wheatfield shooting

LOCKPORT – Niagara County Sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Tortorella has been selected as one of four finalists for the prestigious 2015 International Association of Chiefs of Police Target Police Officer of the Year.

He is being recognized for placing himself between Errick Road School and a gunman during a gunfight on April 17 in Wheatfield. The 25-year-old gunman, Duane A. Bores Jr., shot his mother and father in their Wheatfield home and eventually turned the gun on himself, taking his own life. His parents, Duane Sr. and Cynthia, have since recovered from critical injuries.

Tortorella, the first deputy on the scene at the Errick Road home, was struck in the chest by a bullet that deflected off his bulletproof vest. Tortorella placed himself between the gunman and the school in session next-door – where his wife taught and his two children were students. He also called dispatch to order a lockdown.

“Your response to a dangerous situation is an example of what it means to make sacrifices for your community and to display bravery,” IACP Executive Director Vincent Talucci wrote in a letter to Tortorella.

Tortorella and the other finalists will be recognized during the ninth annual IACP Foundation Gala in Chicago on Oct. 24.