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Olean shooter identified and charged after lengthy standoff

OLEAN – Christopher T. Beach, 43, a tenant at 927 Buffalo Street, who shot a man during a standoff Tuesday with Olean police, sheriff’s deputies and state troopers, was charged with first-degree assault and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, Olean Police Chief Jeff Rowley announced

The chief said Police Officer James Marcellin went to the apartment building with City Marshall Richard Cousins and Steve Bryer, a representative of the property owner, to force Beach, who had already been notified of his impending eviction, to get out of the building about 10:55 a.m. Beach refused to open the door and instead fired several gunshots through the door, striking Bryer once in the torso.

After Bryer was taken from the building and sent to Olean General Hospital for treatment of his gunshot wound, a perimeter was set up about the building and other tenants were safely evacuated, the chief said.

The Olean Emergency Response Team was activated by the police department and assistance was requested from both the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office and the State Police. Olean Police Capt. Robert Blovsky negotiated with Beach for several hours before communications broke down and tear gas was fired into the suspect’s flat with a State Police armored tactical vehicle on scene as a precaution.

When the tear gas forced Beach out of his apartment to get some breath as he ran back inside several State Police troopers rushed him and forcibly took him into custody about 5:30 p.m., according to Chief Rowley. Beach is slated to be arraigned in Olean Court Wednesday.

Chief Rowley said he wanted to issue public thanks for the assistance he and his department received in the standoff from the State Police, the county sheriff’s office, the Village of Allegany Police and the State Department of Environmental Conservation.

“All those agencies assisted us and it proved to result in a safe resolution to this dangerous situation,” Chief Rowley said.