Well-known Williamsville homeless man found dead in bus shelter

Jan 31, 2019

The first blizzard of 2019 has taken three lives in total, including a well-known Williamsville man who was homeless.

Around 9:30 Thursday morning, residents in the Williamsville area noticed an individual slumped over in a bus shelter on Main Street near the I-290. NFTA Transit Police Chief George Gast said they called 911.

“An Amherst patrol unit responded to that location, observed the individual in some type of distress, called for EMS and, at about 9:53 this morning, the individual was declared dead,” Gast said.

NFTA Police were called in because the man, Lawrence “Larry” Bierl, 69, was found in a bus shelter. Detectives are investigating the death, but Gast said Bierl was well-known in the Williamsville community as a person experiencing homelessness for a “considerable” number of years.

But with the core of social services agencies and shelters focused mainly in the City of Buffalo, what options might this individual have had? Gast said his department works with Western New York’s homeless coalition to try and prevent these situations.

“They do have vans available. They do go out and pick people up and get them to shelters. They have a real knack for knowing where individuals are. And these services are made available to everybody throughout the area,” Gast said.

No matter what the community, Gast said members of the public can help when they see an individual in distress by doing just what was done in this case - notifying police.