Lou Michel, The Buffalo News

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Lou Michel

Lou Michel is the main crime reporter for The Buffalo News, coauthor of the bestseller, "American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing." He has received numerous state and national journalism awards.


Hours after police recovered Officer Craig Lehner's body from the Niagara River on Tuesday, Buffalo police dispatchers were given the order to call for him one last time. It's known as the end of watch call. Three dispatchers were on duty, all of them distraught. Susan Forero composed herself to make the call, knowing she would get no response. "Radio to K-9 43…

Attorneys for the Buffalo police officer accused of tripping and injuring a prisoner at Central Booking want a non-jury trial in late November. City Court Judge Joseph A. Fiorella held off on the request, saying it could be discussed when Officer Joseph R. Hassett and his lawyers return Nov. 2 to discuss pending motions. A new charge of making a punishable false writ…

The emergency underneath the Niagara River went from bad to worse in no more than 30 minutes. Officer Craig E. Lehner was alone in the river during an underwater recovery training session when the tender cable that connected him to colleagues on land became snagged on an unknown object, three police sources said Wednesday. Team members on the Bird Island pier knew th…

It's official. The Navy's newest warship, the USS Little Rock LCS9, will be commissioned Dec. 16 at Canalside. The commissioning will be the first time in the Navy's 242-year history that one of its ships is commissioned in view of the decommissioned ship for which it is named, according to Maurice L. "Moe" Naylon III, chairman of the local commissioning committee. T…

Officer Craig E. Lehner was alone in the Niagara River during an underwater recovery team training session Friday when he went missing, according to police sources. He was attached to a tender cable as another team member on the Bird Island pier at the foot of West Ferry Street held the line and walked along the pier as Lehner moved in water about 25 feet deep. Sudde…

After graduating from Hutchinson Central Technical High School, Chanthini Taylor-Dixon wanted to escape the cold Buffalo winters. College in Florida sounded like a great idea. But by her junior year at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, the biology major realized she would need more cash if she was going to complete her education. "I enlis…

Walter Kloc always has been ambitious and active -- even these days at 100 years old. When he attended Central Michigan University, he majored in industrial engineering and history. When  World War II started, he spotted an opportunity. Rather than be told which branch of the military to serve in as a draftee, he gave up his education and enlisted in the Army Air Forc…

Marian Morreale practiced how to stand for the last three months. She is a 94-year-old World War II veteran and her left leg was amputated last year. But she practiced standing so that she could when the national anthem was sung at the opening game of the Sabres tonight. She wanted to make a point. "I think for these young athletes and the salaries they make, the…

Richard J. Stachowiak desperately wanted to follow in his four older brothers' footsteps. They were all serving in World War II. Benny fought as an Army infantry sergeant in the European Theater. Frank rolled through Europe in an Army tank division. Joseph, a Marine, served in the pivotal battle at Guadalcanal in the Pacific Theater and suffered serious wounds. …

Earlier this week Jerry Reilly's 91-year-old cousin sat on the porch of her Old First Ward home the two had shared as children. She reminisced about the World War II sailor who died 75 years ago with the five Sullivan brothers and nearly 700 other shipmates aboard the USS Juneau. Betty Barrett did not hold back in sharing Reilly's tough upbringing. She knew it would …

Buffalo lags the national average for solving homicides, clearing barely more than half of 246 killings in the past five years, and now police and prosecutors say it might take more money to boost the clearance rate. The money would pay for bigger rewards to entice witnesses to come forward with information. "Increased witness cooperation is the key to a lot of these…

Jerry Lagenor dropped out of McKinley High School's sheet metal vocational program after tenth grade. He thought he would be better off working for his father's heating and air conditioning business. But when his dad closed up shop to work for a big contractor, Lagenor considered his options. There weren't many. He could continue working at his new place of employment, …

Armand J. Jolly stood on the bow of the USS Emmons, looking for Japanese kamikaze airplanes. He and the rest of the 300 sailors on the minesweeper had survived naval battles in the Atlantic and Pacific, and they could tell the war was nearing an end. That afternoon — April 6, 1945 — off shore from Okinawa, Jolly spotted an enemy plane. Then dozens more. The fi…

Stanley T. Witczak wanted to do more than just build airplanes for World War II. He wanted to fly and attack the enemy with them. "I was 17 and told my father I wanted to join the Army Air Corps and he said, 'No, no. They'll get you soon enough.' So I continued working at Curtiss Wright ," he said of the warplane manufacturer. The eighth of 13 children, Witczak ha…

At least eight double-decker shipping containers in a long freight train toppled shortly before 11:30 a.m. Wednesday when they struck a bridge spanning the tracks on Main Street in Buffalo, but no one was injured. Buffalo police said the Canadian Pacific Railway train that derailed on CSX tracks between Greenfield Street and Rodney Avenue did not threaten public safety.…