Three Buffalo police officers were wounded in a long, wild chase full of gunfire Tuesday evening that began with a traffic stop on the West Side and ended on the other side of the city.
Two suspects were arrested when the chase ended at Fillmore Avenue and East Ferry Street, Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said in a mid-evening news conference at Erie County Medical Center.
The officers were taken to ECMC for treatment. Gramaglia said one was in stable condition after surgery and the others sustained non-life-threatening injuries. He noted that one was struck in his bullet-proof vest and the other was struck by two shots, one in the bicep and another which grazed his ear.
Gramaglia said the officers were in separate patrol cars and were shot at different locations during the chase. One was struck on Bailey Avenue near the E District police station, he said. Another was shot at the end of the chase at East Ferry and Fillmore.
One of the suspects, who also was wounded at the end of the chase, was undergoing surgery for wounds at ECMC, Gramaglia said. There was no information on the suspect's condition. The other was taken to Police Headquarters.
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Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said his chief of homicide was conferring with detectives to determine charges against the suspects.
“It was a long chase, there will be numerous charges,” he said, “but they might not be until a later date.”
Mayor Bryon W. Brown noted that no one else was injured in the chase.
“We are fortunate that no members of the public were struck,” he said.
Gramaglia said that investigation would continue at all locations along the chase, which began at Niagara and West Ferry streets shortly after 6 p.m. It ended at about 6:40 p.m. The commissioner said he believed the suspects’ car crashed.
Another suspect left the vehicle early in the chase when it stopped briefly on Niagara Street, he said.
Gramaglia said he did not know yet whether any homes or businesses were damaged in the course of the chase.
He added, “The chase in this case is within the (department’s) policy.”
Gramaglia also asked that anyone with video footage of the incident to contact Buffalo police.
Recordings of scanner transmissions and cellphone video taken by a witness showed a chaotic scene unfolding.
A recording of police transmissions indicated someone shooting at police during the pursuit.
"Apparently shooting at officers again," a dispatcher could be heard saying.
Moments later, a voice that appeared to be that of an officer can be heard.
"I'm hit, I'm hit," the officer said.
Then another officer said: "Officer shot. We're taking the off for the hospital ... Headed up to ECMC."
Then another voice can be heard.
"They're still shooting. Multiple officers hit. Shots fired! Shots fired!"
The dispatcher asked: "Location on the shots, guys?"
She asked another question: "Just want to confirm we do not have another officer shot at Fillmore and Ferry?
A cellphone video shared on Facebook showed the scene of the end of the pursuit at the intersection of East Ferry Street and North Fillmore Avenue, right in front of the Buffalo Police Department's Ferry-Fillmore District station.
The person recording the video was at a gas station on the northeast corner of the intersection.
A siren could be heard blaring as the video showed a marked Buffalo police SUV in the middle of the intersection. The driver's side door was flung open. There were two uniformed police officers in the intersection, one next to the car and another closer to a sidewalk. Both had their guns drawn facing west toward oncoming traffic on Ferry.
Moments later, the sound of gunfire could be heard. It's not clear who was firing. The cellphone video recorder can be heard yelling.
Gramaglia ended the news conference by noting, “There are far too many guns illegally possessed in the hands of people who should not have them. They need to spend time in prison.”