A young man stands accused of attempting to shoot a Buffalo Police Officer in the city’s Schiller Park neighborhood, and his actions have taking on a greater significance.
18-year-old Andre Fuller of Buffalo faces a charge of Attempted Murder in the First Degree. Acting Erie County District Attorney Michael Flaherty said it’s one of the most serious crimes in the state of New York. Fuller also faces charges of Attempted Robbery in the First Degree and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree. Fuller pleaded “not guilty” to all charges during his arraignment on Wednesday morning.
It’s alleged that on June 15th, police spotted Fuller fleeing the scene of a robbery near the intersection of Doat Street and Stewart Avenue around 11:30 p.m. Three officers chased him, and when Officer Anthony Fanara caught him, Fuller allegedly pressed his .45 caliber gun into Fanara’s chest twice and pulled the trigger. The gun jammed, saving Fanara’s life. Fuller was then arrested.
As a legal adult, Fuller faces a potential minimum sentence of 20 to 40 years for attempted murder of a police officer, and a maximum of life in prison.
“Although he’s 18 years old, we could have had a dead officer,” said Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda. “He did pull the trigger, and he can say that he knew the safety was on – which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. The officer was in a life and death struggle to disarm this suspect.”
Flaherty said the charge of attempted murder and the possible sentence are illustrative of how law enforcement and legal officials treat such an offense.
“Especially in this climate with the often unprovoked attacks on police officers, it’s important the public understands how seriously and vigilant we are at protecting our police officers,” said Flaherty.
In light of recent attacks on police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Dallas, Texas, Buffalo Police have enacted safety measures such as pairing up officers in patrol cars.
“It is a very dangerous climate right now, with officers being targeted in different areas,” said Derenda. “We have not seen that in Buffalo. Let’s hope we don’t.”
Derenda said the safety measures won’t remain in place permanently, but that when they do change, it will not be announced publicly.
Fuller has been remanded without bail to the custody of the Erie County Sheriff until his next court date on September 29th. Flaherty couldn’t say how long he expects the case to take, but said with Fuller in custody, the case will be on the courts’ priority list. Assistant District Attorney Ashley M. Morgan is prosecuting the case.