Cheektowaga police chief: 'Miracle that I'm not ... reading off the names of the dead' - The Buffalo News

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Cheektowaga police chief: 'Miracle that I'm not ... reading off the names of the dead'

Two AR-15 rifles. A ballistic vest. Camouflage.

Travis Green, 29,  is accused of being the gunman who opened fire on a Dollar General store in Cheektowa Tuesday afternoon. But what might have he been planning?

Green of Cheektowaga was identified this morning as the shooter before his arraignment in Cheektowag Town Court.

"These are the times we live in," Cheektowaga Town Police Chief David Zack said. "We don't know what the motive of the shooter was. When you have someone running around with body armor, with a high-powered rifled wearing body armor, there's no way of knowing what their true intent is, and we have to take every precaution."

The gunman fired "possibly dozens of rounds," but amazingly, just one person was struck by a bullet.

A man, described by police as a 53-year-old Cheektowaga resident, was shot in the shoulder, police said. Also the front glass door of the store was shot out, police said.

"It is a miracle that I'm not at this podium reading off the names of the dead," Zack said during a 6 p.m. news conference held in the police department headquarters.

Three customers and several clerks were inside the store when the gunman opened fire, according to preliminary reports to investigators.

As of Tuesday night, police were still trying to confirm the identity of the gunman, who was chased down by Cheektowaga police officers.

"He is not being cooperative at all," Zack said. "So motive, pre-planning, all those things we're just unsure of at this time."

No shots were exchanged, and the man was not armed  when the police officers tackled him after a foot chase, police said,  He did suffered some kind of injury and was being treated at Erie County Medical Center. Zack said it wasn't clear when the injury occurred.

One of the weapons Cheektowaga police found in the parking lot of the Dollar General on Union and French roads. (Provided by Cheektowaga Police Department)

Two high-powered AR-15 rifles were recovered in the parking lot of the Dollar General store, the police chief said.

Investigators believe the gunman was acting alone.

"We are very confident that the shooter was acting alone and no other suspects are being sought at this time," Zack said.

The chaos erupted just before 3 p.m. Tuesday. Cheektowaga Police dispatchers received several calls about an armed man at a Dollar General store in the town.

"This created some initial confusion with our dispatchers, because there are six Dollar General locations within our town," Zack said.

Even after figuring out that the incident was occurring at the Union Road location of the store, police still had to determine which Union Road location.

"The Union Road location is actually located at the Airport Plaza at the intersection of Union Road and Genesee Street," Zack said.

"The actual address where the incident occurred, though on Union Road, is officially 25 Gardenville Parkway West, which is near French Road. These are complete opposite directions in the town," the police chief said.

Police arrived within four minutes of being dispatched and encountered chaos.

 

"Witnesses alerted officers to a man wearing camouflage fleeing the scene on foot. The subject was repeatedly ordered to stop, and he refused," Zack said. "After a brief foot pursuit, the subject was tackled to the ground by officers. No shots were exchanged between the subject and (Cheektowaga) police officers."

Zack said a bomb-sniffing dog was brought in as a precaution to check for explosives in a vehicle that police believe may be connected to the man. But no explosives were found.

A residence at Garden Village Apartments in Cheektowaga was being investigated as a possible location of his residence, police said.

Police on Tuesday said it did not appear that the victim and the suspect knew each other and that the shooting appeared to be unprovoked.

"The injured civilian has been identified; however, we will not be releasing that name until we receive the appropriate word from family of that victim," Zack said.

Cheektowaga Police were assisted in Tuesday's preliminary investigation by the West Seneca Police Department, Niagara Frontier Transit Authority Police, Erie County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Zack said he anticipated that the FBI would also be called in to assist in the investigation

Cheektowaga police said the suspect in the Tuesday's shooting in Cheektowaga was wearing this armored vest. (Cheektowaga Police Department)

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