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Amherst drug dealer imprisoned for Lockport shootout

LOCKPORT – Derek J. Burgler, a former drug dealer who police say was planning to invade the home of a Lockport marijuana dealer, was sentenced Friday to two years in state prison for the resulting shootout.

“You basically brought the Wild West back to the City of Lockport, and you should be punished for that,” Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III told Derek J. Burgler.

Murphy tacked on three years of post-release supervision for Burgler, 22, of Avalon Drive, Amherst. Murphy also ordered him to pay $500 restitution to cover the insurance deductible paid by a woman who found the gas tank and a tire on her parked pickup truck had been punctured by a stray bullet.

No one was hurt during Burgler’s Nov. 5 shootout with Brian M. Morrow, 25, of Walnut Street, Lockport, a reputed pot peddler to whose home Burgler and another man were about to make an unwelcome visit. Morrow, who is charged with growing marijuana in his basement, confronted him in the driveway.

The confrontation, which featured Burgler firing two shots from a 9-millimeter handgun in Morrow’s driveway, resulted in a vehicle chase through the neighborhood in which more shots were fired. The window of Morrow’s sport utility vehicle was shattered by a bullet.

Burgler’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Michele G. Bergevin, contended, “He was with some people he shouldn’t have been. There was a shootout. Mr. Burgler said he was not the one who shot the gun, but he was there.”

Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann said that Burgler admitted to Lockport police that he fired the gun four times. Murphy took a break for Hoffmann to obtain the recording of the interrogation, which proved Hoffmann was correct.

The judge accused Burgler of trying to cover up for a friend and minimize his own involvement. He also said Burgler told a probation officer in a presentencing interview that he had been involved in selling drugs for several years.

Bergevin said Burgler has cleaned up his act. She said he has abandoned his old friends, stopped using drugs and started volunteering at the SPCA to further a goal of becoming a veterinary technician.

“I understand what I did was terribly wrong,” Burgler said. “I’m a much happier person. I’m seeing the light.”