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Town of Tonawanda man faces prison in weapons case

A Town of Tonawanda man was sentenced to 3½ years in prison Thursday for displaying a loaded gun as security officers escorted him from a Tops Market in Buffalo after he created a disturbance because he felt the customer service line was not moving fast enough.

Miguel Lagares, 26, also received a one-year jail sentence for trying to dissuade the prosecution’s principal witness from testifying against him, despite a court order directing him to stay away from the witness. State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia ordered the sentences to run concurrently. He also ordered five years of post-release supervision.

Lagares pleaded guilty in January to second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and two counts of second-degree criminal contempt.

Prosecutors said Lagares showed the stolen 9mm pistol to security officers Aug. 14 as they were removing him from the Tops on Niagara Street. He fled but was arrested nearby.

Lagares later approached the prosecution witness twice about not testifying against him, including a confrontation at a school bus stop where the witness was standing with his child, prosecutors said.

Buscaglia ordered Lagares to have no contact with the witness for 10 years.