Investigation immediately following police-involved shooting determined officers’ use of force was appropriate
Submitted by the Erie County District Attorney
Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announced 33-year-old William A. Fugate of Buffalo pleaded guilty this afternoon before Erie County Court Judge Sheila A. DiTullio to one count of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree (class “D” felony).
On Dec. 29, 2019, at approximately 10:25 p.m., Buffalo Police officers initiated a traffic stop on Northland Avenue and Lonsdale Road after witnessing a vehicle make an illegal U-turn. As officers conducted the traffic stop, the defendant – a passenger who was on parole – exited the backseat of the vehicle and attempted to flee. As he ran from the police, the defendant pointed an illegal gun toward the officers. As the officers saw the defendant point the gun, the officers fired their weapons. The defendant was subsequently hit four times by gunfire.
After he was found hiding in a nearby yard, the defendant was taken by ambulance to ECMC where he was treated for injuries to the side of his body. Officers found an illegal pistol, which was recovered from the defendant’s flight path.
The Erie County District Attorney’s Office conducted a thorough investigation immediately after the incident and determined that the officers’ use of force was appropriate.
Fugate faces a maximum of seven years in prison when he is sentenced on Monday, July 31. He continues to be held without bail.
DA Flynn commends the Buffalo Police Department for its work in this investigation.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney John G. Schoemick of the major crimes unit.