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Niagara County sheriff’s deputy shot gunman three times in ‘justified’ shooting

LOCKPORT– Footage from five video cameras outside the Wheatfield house where Niagara County Sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Tortorella exchanged gunfire with Duane Bores Jr. last week confirmed Tortorella’s version of events, Niagara County District Attorney Michael J. Violante said Friday.

In a gunfight outside the house, Tortorella wounded Bores three times, in the abdomen, side and shin, Violante revealed.

Bores then ran back into the house and shot himself in the head. An autopsy by the Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office concluded the self-inflicted head wound was fatal and the other shots would not have been.

Thus, Violante said, there’s no reason to charge Tortorella or even to send the case to a grand jury. The decision not to prosecute was “such an easy call in my opinion,” the prosecutor said during a news conference at the Sheriff’s Office.

Tortorella was the first deputy on the scene on Errick Road on April 17 after Bores, 25, shot his parents in the back of their necks in their home.

After the exchange of shots, Bores’ parents – bleeding and unable to walk – were on a speaker phone with a 911 dispatcher in another room of the house when they heard their son shoot himself, Sheriff James R. Voutour said.

The parents, Duane Bores Sr. and Cynthia Bores, remain in critical condition in Erie County Medical Center. They are unable to speak because of tubes in their throats, but Violante said it looks like they will survive.

Tortorella was “relieved” when he was told Friday he would not face a grand jury, Voutour said.

The Bores family had installed a set of security cameras because of neighborhood vandalism, and they recorded the whole shootout, although without sound, the sheriff said.

Tortorella said he knocked on the front door and the younger Bores opened it. Voutour said he seemed “very squeamish, very squirrely,” before shutting the door in Tortorella’s face. A few moments later, Bores stepped onto a rear deck. Voutour said the videos show he had two guns, one in each back pocket of his pants.

Tortorella confronted Bores and ordered him onto his knees with his hands on his head, after noticing Bores had blood on his hands.

When Bores made a move toward his back pocket, Tortorella pulled his gun. Bores stood up and pulled his own gun, and Tortorella shot him. Bores ran behind Tortorella’s patrol car and Tortorella headed for a tree to use it for cover. Tortorella apparently was hit just as he reached the tree. After the gunfight, Bores ran inside and killed himself. Violante called it an attempt at “suicide by cop. I’m told while on his knees, he asked Tortorella to shoot him in the head.”

“It’s a justified shoot,” said Thomas H. Burton, Tortorella’s attorney. “The Sheriff’s Department left no stone unturned, and we’re pleased at the outcome for Deputy Tortorella and his family.”

After watching the videos for the first time Friday, the sheriff called Tortorella, who has yet to return to duty, “one tough cop. He could have retreated … He said, ‘Not today. Not on my watch.’ ”

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com