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POLICE SHOOT FIRST, AVERT SHOTGUN ATTACK IN BURGLARY

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Two Buffalo police officers say they escaped a shotgun attack early today on Leroy Avenue by shooting first at one of two men later arrested by the Special Weapons and Tactics team, authorities said.

The police bullet narrowly missed Buffe Perry, who had stepped from behind a door and pointed a loaded 12-gauge shotgun in the faces of Kensington Station Officers Aaron Salter Jr. and Gerald Smith, police said.

About 2 1/2 hours later, Perry, 25, of Loepere Street, and Jeff Mills, age and address unavailable, surrendered to SWAT team members.

"My first reaction was to duck," Salter said. "I don't enjoy looking down the barrel of a shotgun, and if it hadn't been for my partner shooting first, it would have been a golden opportunity to shoot us. My partner probably saved us."

The officers were investigating report of a burglary in progress at 1:05 a.m. at 114 Leroy.

Perry and Mills, who at first refused to give his name, were charged with first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, menacing, resisting arrest and first-degree burglary.

Adrian Benton, owner of the 2 1/2 -story apartment house, called police after he heard "a lot of noises coming from an upper apartment."

As the officers approached a first-floor hallway door leading up to the apartment, Perry stepped out from behind the door and aimed the shotgun at them, the officers said.

Perry was told to put the weapon down, but instead "acted as if he were going to shoot it," Smith said. "You have to think fast on your feet. My shot missed him and probably went into the door."

When asked how he felt, the officer said, "I'm upset and angry, but glad no one was hurt."

Perry, after being apprehended, denied pointing the shotgun at the officers, authorities said.

"He had changed his clothes and switched coats with the other guy when he went upstairs into the apartment. When we first saw him, he was wearing some kind of mask over part of his face and a long black coat, but when he was arrested, he was wearing a short jacket," Salter said. "We found the other clothes in the apartment and kept them as evidence."

Neither man, the officers added, expressed any remorse when arrested.

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