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Buffalo brothers charged in incident in which NFTA police officer shot at vehicle

Two brothers who were inside a vehicle pierced by a police officer's bullet last week are in the Erie County Holding Center facing charges, according to authorities.

Devere D. Thomas, 21, of Buffalo, was charged with attempted assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration, according to a spokesman for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Transit Police.

Thomas is accused of being behind the wheel of the vehicle that tried striking the officer who ended up firing a shot through the vehicle's windshield. The incident happened during a traffic stop at about 12:10 p.m. near Main and West Utica streets.

The officer who conducted the traffic stop reported to his superiors that he saw the driver of the vehicle attempt to flee the scene and nearly strike another officer who arrived as backup, NFTA Police Chief George W. Gast said last week. The backup officer was standing near the front of the vehicle at the time, Gast said.

Devere D. Thomas, 21, of Buffalo, was charged with the attempted assault on a police officer. (Erie County Sheriff's Office)

No one was injured in the shooting.

The officer who fired the shot, whom the agency has yet to publicly identify, remains on paid administrative leave as an internal investigation continues, said C. Douglas Hartmayer, NFTA spokesman.

The passenger in the vehicle, Juri Thomas, 36, also of Buffalo, was charged with a parole violation. Hartmayer said Thomas was convicted in a 2007 shooting incident for which he served prison time and was on parole at the time of his arrest last week.

"When the police officers walked up to the car, they suspected they smelled marijuana. The parole officer of the passenger, Juri, ordered a urine test for which he failed. So he was in violation of his parole and that's why he's in the Erie County Holding Center," Hartmayer said.

"We didn't charge for anything to do with the incident (from last week), specifically, but when the incident unfolded, the urine test turned out positive for marijuana which then was a violation of his parole," Hartmayer added.

Devere Thomas was being held on $25,000 bail. He was also cited for several vehicle and traffic violations.

As of Monday morning, Hartmayer said, police officials had not yet conducted their interview with the officer who fired his weapon.

[Related: NFTA police officer fires shot at fleeing motorist on Main Street]

 

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