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Man pleads not guilty in shooting of cops

A man who authorities said called 911 and then shot a sheriff's deputy and police officer as they arrived at his home pleaded not guilty to two counts of attempted first-degree murder Thursday in Wyoming County Court.

Joseph Cordier Jr., 30, of 830 Sierk Road, Bennington, was taken into custody about 6 a.m. Thursday after authorities who had waited outside his house all night used a tear gas canister to force him outside.

Cordier could face life in prison without parole if found guilty. He was placed in Wyoming County Jail without bail.

Cordier held police at bay for 12 hours before surrendering, authorities said. Wyoming County Undersheriff Paul Donnelly said that in the 911 call, Cordier threatened to kill himself.

Sheriff's Sgt. Greg Rudolph, 30, and Attica Village Police Officer Andy Houghton, 32, were sprayed by a shotgun blast at 6:13 p.m. Wednesday while walking up the driveway to the home. Bennington is 24 miles east of Buffalo in rural Wyoming County.

Rudolph was struck in the face and shoulder, while Houghton was hit in the leg. Rudolph underwent three hours of surgery on his face. He and Houghton were released from Wyoming County Community Hospital on Thursday.

Cordier made no comment during the arraignment before Wyoming County Judge Michael Griffith. No date has been set for a felony hearing in Bennington Town Court.

A county grand jury is expected to hear the case, according to Gerald L. Stout, Wyoming County district attorney.

Stout said he knows both of the wounded officers, but said it will not affect his ability to prosecute the case.

"It is a shame that police officers have to be wary of things like these," Stout said.

He praised the officers, adding that Rudolph was promoted to sergeant less than a year ago. Houghton has been a patrolman for four years.

"They are two of the best in the county," the prosecutor said.

Neal Mahoney, assistant county public defender, who represented Cordier during the arraignment, said his client "is a local businessman. He has ties to the community."

However, Bennington Supervisor Ellen Grant said town officials had no knowledge of Cordier running a business.

Attica Police Chief William Smith recounted the incident.

"Sgt. Rudolph fell to the ground," he said. "Officer Houghton pulled him and himself behind a car for cover. Houghton called for help on the radio and they somehow made their way across the road and behind a tree.

"Once darkness set in, they were able to make their way to a house across the road," Smith said.

In the meantime, dozens of state police officers, sheriff's deputies and Attica police officers converged on the scene, surrounded the house and kept watch overnight. A few neighboring families were evacuated.

"They waited him out," said Smith.

Rudolph and Houghton were the third and fourth upstate law enforcement officers shot in the line of duty in the last few weeks. New Hartford Police Officer Joseph Corr, 30, was shot and killed while pursuing suspected robbers Feb. 27 near Utica. State Trooper Andrew Sperr, 33, was killed March 1 in a gun battle with two bank robbers in the rural hamlet of Big Flats, midway between Corning and Elmira.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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