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2 indicted in shootout; police officers are cleared

Two men were indicted Friday on charges in the April 25 shootout with West Seneca police on East and West Road.

Jerome Brylski, 56, of Leydecker Road, West Seneca, is charged with first-degree attempted murder and menacing a police officer. Jeffrey S. Edwards, 42 of Peoria Street, Cheektowaga, is charged with one count of criminal facilitation.

The grand jury also cleared West Seneca Police Lts. Kevin Baranowski and William Leitzel and Officers Don Driscoll and John Urbanski of criminal responsibility. They returned fire after Brylski began shooting at them with a lever-action rifle at about 4 p. m.

The shootout unfolded after West Seneca police received a call about a man with a loaded gun making threats. When they arrived at East and West Road they spotted Brylski getting into a car driven by Edwards, police said.

Near the border with Orchard Park, Brylski reportedly emerged from the back seat of the car and began shooting, police said. Police returned fire, hitting both Brylski and Edwards.

Both were treated in Erie County Medical Center, where Edwards remains a patient. Brylski, in jail, and Edwards are expected to be arraigned next week.

While the shooting played out, Crisis Services counselors were called by Brylski's adult children and were en route to the his home. Brylski was diagnosed a paranoid schizophrenic and believed the government was conspiring against him.

Brylski had stopped taking his prescribed medication and refused counseling, authorities said.

Thomas H. Burton, attorney for the four officers, said, "This was a harrowing encounter that ended up with the right legal result for these officers."

Burton said the four, who had been placed on administrative leave after the shooting, have returned to full-time duty, with no professional repercussions.

Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III declined to discuss specifics of the grand jury action but said the grand jury found the officers' actions "justified" under the circumstances.


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