Buffalo councilman Ulysees Wingo allegedly brings gun into Riverside High School

May 17, 2019

Buffalo Common Council member Ulysees O. Wingo, Sr. has been suspended from setting foot on city school district property after allegedly bringing a gun into Riverside High School.

Buffalo Council Member Ulysees O. Wingo, Sr. represents the Masten District and is chair of the Council's Education Committee.
Credit Website of Masten District Council Member Ulysees Wingo / Buffalo Common Council

According to a statement released by the Buffalo Public Schools, Wingo entered Riverside High School on Ontario Street on Tuesday with a gun and ammunition. Wingo was at the school to attend a scholarship event.

District Spokesperson Elena Cala said the gun was "on his person" and presented as being his own. According to the results of a Freedom of Information Law request filed with the Erie County Clerk's Office by WBFO, Wingo has a pistol permit.

The statement said as soon as the District's Central Office staff were notified, protocol was followed and police were contacted.

"Buffalo Police are aware and are working with the District Attorney's office at this time," said City of Buffalo spokesman Michael DeGeorge.

DeGeorge said as of Friday afternoon, investigation into the incident is mostly in the hands of the district attorney. That office's spokesperson confirmed they are looking into the matter.

School Board Policy 3441 and NYS Penal Law 220.00 both prohibit guns from being brought onto school property by anyone other than law enforcement. Cala explained there is policy in place for instances where those rules are violated.

"The first thing is a call to 911," said Cala. "Doesn't matter if it's loaded. Doesn't matter who's got it in their pocket, their bookbag, the bushes, whatever. If it's known that a gun is on school property, that's an automatic, immediate 911 call."

In its statement, the school district said, "At a time when the country is besieged by gun violence and the horrific, unspeakable events that have occurred inside our nation's schools, the Buffalo City School District remains especially vigilant on behalf of our students, teachers, and staff. It is inexcusable for any person to enter school property with a firearm."

Determining who was aware of the presence of the gun is part of the now-ongoing administrative investigation by the school district. While that investigation is underway, Riverside H.S. Principal Jerome Piwko is on administrative leave as part of "human resource procedures." Assistant Principal Colleen Cunningham is now the acting principal.

Wingo, who serves as the Common Council's Education Committee Chair, was notified on Friday of his suspension from school grounds in a letter from the District's Legal Counsel, Nathaniel Kuzma. Other than the letter, Cala said she is not aware of any other communication between Wingo and the District, including Superintendent Kriner Cash.

Parents of students at Riverside will be notified of the situation.

A call to Wingo's office seeking comment has not been returned.