Watching someone drive a golf cart down a city street with links nowhere in sight might appear comical.
But it was hardly humorous for a Buffalo police officer when he stopped the unregistered vehicle and the teenage driver drew a gun on him.
Northwest District Officer Lon E. Folts ended up in a fight for his life and won when he arrested Antonio B. Clements without a shot being fired, police officials said Thursday.
After Folts drove up beside the golf cart on the first block of Isabelle Street in Riverside last weekend, he recognized the 16-year-old Clements, who was wanted for allegedly committing an armed robbery last fall.
Folts managed to pull the cart over, stepped from his patrol vehicle and grabbed Clements by his jacket. The teen reached into the front of his pants and pulled out a loaded .22-caliber handgun, Lt. Richard P. Manley said.
“Folts noticed the gun and alerted radio the best he could and began the fight of his life,” the lieutenant said. “Folts remembered his training and focused on the weapon. He pushed the armed subject against his patrol vehicle, then down to the ground making sure the subject couldn’t turn the weapon towards him.”
Clements realized he was losing the fight and tossed the gun under Folts’ vehicle, while the officer maintained physical control of him until more police arrived, according to Manley.
At that point, Folts handcuffed Clements and placed in him the back of the patrol vehicle.
Northwest District officers had been searching for Clements since Oct. 29 when he and another individual allegedly robbed a safe containing $3,700 from its owner at gunpoint in a Ross Avenue residence.
“Folts realized the danger to the general public and acted without fear of harm to himself. He took an extremely dangerous felon off the street,” Manley said.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said he also believes Folts acted courageously in what was a life-and-death struggle.
“This is a perfect example of how paying attention to the little things can lead to a major arrest,” Derenda said.
Clements’ actions in driving a golf cart on a city street while wanted for robbery and possessing a loaded gun, the commissioner said, “shows his total disrespect for the law on all different levels.”
Police say they are trying to determine who owns the golf cart.
The teenager was charged Saturday with criminal possession of a weapon, resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration. He was also charged with robbery in the October incident.