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Aaron Besecker

Aaron Besecker is a breaking news and criminal justice reporter for The Buffalo News. He has been a News staff reporter since 2007.


Crime

A juvenile student at the city's alternative high school was arrested Friday after head-butting a police officer, according to a Buffalo Police report. The incident happened in a classroom at Academy School 131 @ 4 on South Park Avenue, according to the report. Police charged the student with assaulting a police officer, a class C felony. The officer was hit in the c…

Amherst

Don Chatten says he knew what he had to do. A stranger's small gray terrier fell into the icy waters of Tonawanda Creek near the entrance to Ellicott Island Bark Park in the Town of Tonawanda. Chatten, who believed the dog wouldn't survive long, walked into the frigid creek to rescue the pet. "He just saw a situation happen, and he didn't think twice," said witnes…

Crime

A 55-year-old man shot Friday night in North Buffalo has been treated and released from Erie County Medical Center, a police spokesman said Saturday. The man was struck in the leg by gunfire just after 9 p.m. Friday in the first block of Holling Drive, Buffalo Police Department spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge said. The victim had been taken to ECMC with what were consi…

Crime

A 46-year-old man was in fair condition Saturday after he was shot Friday night on Buffalo's West Side, according to police. The victim was shot at about 9:10 p.m. in the vicinity of Niagara Street and Auburn Avenue, a police spokesman said in an email. The victim was taken to Erie County Medical Center. Police did not release any further details about the inciden…

Courts

Two teens who have not received all required childhood vaccines will not be allowed to attend classes in the Orchard Park Central School District for now, a judge ruled Friday. State Supreme Court Judge Mark J. Grisanti rejected a mother’s request to force the district to temporarily admit her two children as she awaits an appeal to the state Education Department. Ma…

Crime

A shampoo thief was at it again in Niagara Falls, according to a police report. Staff at the CVS Pharmacy at 1806 Pine Ave. told police Thursday afternoon that a man stole 32 bottles of shampoo at 2:10 p.m. Wednesday. The suspect was the same man who previously stole shampoo from the store, police were told. Before Wednesday's theft, the store put alarm censors on…

Courts

A Buffalo man who admitted killing a 17-year-old last June has been sentenced to 25 years in prison, according to the Erie County District Attorney's Office. State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns on Thursday sentenced Eric Smith, 41, for the fatal shooting of Leo Thagard III on June 17 on Lombard Street, prosecutors said. Smith pleaded guilty in January to…

Erie County

A man saved someone else's dog from the icy waters of Ellicott Creek on Thursday, according to a witness. It happened at about 3:15 p.m. near the Ellicott Island Bark Park, just north of Ellicott Creek Park in the Town of Tonawanda. Images posted to the Friends of Ellicott Island Bark Park's Facebook page show the man cradling the dog while standing in the icy creek.…

Local News

A Lockport house was destroyed, a dog was found dead and two other dogs were presumed dead in a two-alarm fire Thursday night, according to the City of Lockport Fire Department. The blaze at 294 Plank Road, south of Old Niagara Road, was reported at 8:52 p.m. The homeowner had "a large amount of ammunition" stored in the home, which began to detonate as the home burn…

Crime

A candlelight vigil to remember Darryal A. Aughtry will be held at 6 p.m. Sunday outside 235 Wyoming Ave., family members said. Aughtry, 30, was shot Feb. 8 on Wyoming Avenue and died later that day, becoming the city's second homicide victim of the year, Buffalo police have said. The family will release balloons as part of the vigil. Attendees are encouraged to brin…

Crime

Police on Thursday were continuing to look for a man who robbed a bank on Military Road in the Town of Niagara on Wednesday morning. The robber struck a KeyBank branch, 2429 Military, at about 9:15 a.m., according to state police. He showed a note that said he had a weapon, but no weapon was displayed. The suspect was described as a white man with a white beard an…

Crime

A man tried to steal an air pump from a Fillmore Avenue gas station by tying a chain attached to his pickup around it, according to a Buffalo police report. The attempted theft happened at about 1:05 a.m. Wednesday at 880 Fillmore Ave., just south of Sycamore Street. The pickup was a black Toyota Tundra, according to the report. Damage was estimated at more than $250…

Crime

A Buffalo man was charged with driving while intoxicated and two people were taken to the hospital Tuesday night following a collision at Jefferson Avenue and Laurel Street, according to a police report. A police officer parked in a lot near the intersection witnessed the crash at about 10:15 p.m. The driver of a Buick LaCrosse, identified in the report as Thomas J. Lew…

Crime

A 58-year-old man was charged Wednesday with robbing a Pine Avenue store using a knife, according to a Niagara Falls police report. Police were called to Dollar General at 1802 Pine Ave. at about 5:45 p.m. After watching store surveillance footage, officers followed footprints in the snow from the back door of the store to the area of Whitney Avenue and 17th Street, acc…

Crime

A Niagara Falls man being sought by authorities after he cut off his ankle monitor was arrested Wednesday morning in Kenmore, according to the U.S. Marshals Service. Tyrell S. Handley, 20, was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force at an unspecified location on Elmwood Avenue, the Marshals Service said in a news release. Handley, of 15th Street, …