Niagara County Deputy Joe Tortorella has been identified as the deputy involved in a shootout Friday with a Wheatfield man who shot his parents and then took his own life with a self-inflicted wound, authorities said.
Sheriff James R. Voutour, in releasing the deputy’s name Monday, said the 43-year-old Tortorella’s quick action to radio in a request for the lockdown at nearby Errick Road Elementary School demonstrated his ability to think clearly in a dangerous situation and protect innocent lives.
“While in a life-threatening situation, Deputy Tortorella’s first thoughts were to advise the sheriff’s dispatch to instruct the school to go into lockdown mode. Deputy Tortorella reacted and did what he was trained to do and his swift actions may have saved lives,” Voutour said.
Tortorella, a 10-year veteran of the department, has been assigned to exclusively patrol the Wheatfield area since 2009. He is married and the father of three children.
Shortly after noon Friday, Tortorella responded to a 911 call for assistance at the Errick Road home of Duane and Cynthia Bores. As the deputy approached the house, Duane Bores Jr., the couple’s 25-year-old son, opened a door and then slammed it shut, before coming out of the house through another door into the driveway, police said.
Tortorella shouted to Bores, “Show me your hands; show me your hands.”
Bores, who had already shot his parents, then started firing a handgun at the deputy, who returned fire while taking cover behind a nearby tree, police said.
One of Bores’ shots struck the deputy’s protective vest, which was credited with saving Tortorella’s life. Bores, who apparently was wounded in the shootout, went back inside the house, where he turned the gun on himself, police said.
Voutour said Tortorella has displayed professionalism and dedication to duty throughout his career and has received departmental awards and many letters of praise from the public, including Wheatfield Supervisor Robert B. Cliffe.
Duane Bores, 58, and Cynthia Bores, 55, suffered wounds to their necks and heads. They were listed in serious condition Monday in Erie County Medical Center, Voutour said.