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Standoff ends when officer shoots man

A man wielding a knife was shot by Buffalo police in the Black Rock section of the city Wednesday evening, after the man threatened an ambulance crew that arrived to help him.

When officers got to the first block of Hamilton Street at about 7 p.m., they tried to calm the man before he charged at them. After a short, tense standoff with officers, a single shot was fired and struck the man in the midsection, police said.

Relatives told police they called authorities about 6:30 p.m. because the man, who is in his late 60s, had apparently stopped taking his medications and was suicidal. After officers arrived, the man approached them with a knife, threatening to harm himself and possibly others, police said.

Police did not release the name of the officer who shot the man or the name of the man, who was taken to Erie County Medical Center for treatment of what was described as a non-life threatening injury.

No other injuries were reported.

Thomas H. Burton, chief attorney for the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association, spoke with officers who were at the scene. He said the wounded man "was lucky" the officer who shot him opted to fire a single shot from his pistol, with an eye toward wounding the man.

At first, when the man charged toward police from his rear apartment at 114 Hamilton, a group of officers backed away as another officer pointed a 12-gauge shotgun at the man, Burton said he was told.

The officer who shot the man shortly after that was described as a lieutenant in the Northwest District.

Burton told The Buffalo News that the police union will guide the officer through the investigation to come.

"If this follows a traditional course, the district attorney will get in the act and have a grand jury review the shooting," Burton said.

A Homicide Bureau detective was sent to the scene to review the shooting scenario because an on-duty officer was involved. Internal affairs officers also are expected to investigate, which is standard protocol in police-related shootings.

Neighbors of the wounded man said they were unaware of a problem until police cars -- at least three -- began arriving on the stretch of Hamilton near Thompson Street, about a block away from Tonawanda Street.

email: mgryta@buffnews.com