'Shots fired!': N.Y. police release bodycam footage of gunfight during foot pursuit
In the video, an officer is heard warning other officers coming to his aid, saying, "Be careful. He ripped shots at me"
By Harold Mcneil
The Buffalo News
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo police released body camera footage Wednesday from an incident early Sunday in which a suspect is accused of firing several shots at an officer during a foot chase in the city's Fruit Belt neighborhood, with the officer returning fire.
No one was struck during the exchange, which ended with the arrest of Shariff L. Shadwick, 36, of Buffalo, who was charged with attempted murder of a police officer.
The video, which was uploaded to YouTube unlisted, starts out with Officer Ryan Hofschneider responding to a call of threats at East North and Orange streets. At about two minutes and 13 seconds into the video, a person whom the officers encounter on the street, but who cannot be seen in the video, offers to show them his identification and confesses to having "a little bit of weed in my right pocket," which Hofschneider acknowledged was legal.
Some banter is exchanged between Hofschneider and the person who showed his ID about restrictions on his driver's license. The man insisted that his license was legal. Hofschneider, who acknowledged that the license was valid, then jokingly said, "Oh, you got three warrants, though, felonies," before adding, "No, I'm just kidding."
Hofschneider then advised the man and some other people who can also be heard in the video to "just try to keep it down," before he, still in his patrol car, began to pull away from the scene and then stopped.
It was at that point that Hofschneider observed that one of the men at the scene appeared to be holding a firearm.
"It still looks like he's got something bulging out of the front of his pants," Hofschneider said to his partner.
"You guys good?" Hofschneider then asked the men, one of whom responded, "Yeah, we're about to go in the house."
At one point Hofschneider asked, "What's the big bulge in his pants?" One of the men replied by asking, "You talking about his belt?"
"Why is he walking away?" Hofschneider asked. "Tell him to step on the sidewalk real quick."
"Tell who to step on the sidewalk?" one of the men asked, to which Hofschneider specified "the one in the Rodgers shirt," possibly a football jersey bearing the name of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Hofschneider and the man exchanged more banter about the the man in question, who was later identified as Shadwick. Hofschneider indicated that he wanted to make sure the man wouldn't flee the scene. As Hofschneider exited the patrol car, he said, "Your boy is making me nervous." The person to whom Hofschneider was speaking then asked Hofschneider how the man in the Rodgers shirt was making him nervous.
"He's running," said Hofschneider, before he gave chase.
"We've got one dipping out in a Rodgers green jersey. He's got a gun in front of a policeman," Hofschneider said, before yelling for the suspect to stop.
"He's got white pants, green jersey, number 12," Hofschneider said.
"Shots fired! Shots fired!" he then yelled as he and the suspect appeared to exchange fire.
In the video, Hofschneider said he took four shots at the suspect who he said had shot at him. Hofschneider then observed that the suspect escaped into some brush on Lemon Street. He warned other officers coming to his aid to "be careful; he ripped shots at me."
At 7:08 of the video, it switches to body cam footage from Officer Patrick Eck responding to Hofschneider's radio broadcast and later joining in the foot chase, eventually encountering Shadwick on the ground, a few blocks from where Shadwick reportedly shot at Hofschneider.
"Are you shot?" Eck asked the suspect. "I got him, radio," he told dispatch.
Eck then advised the suspect to avoid moving as he handcuffed him.
"Bravo 530, I've got one male in custody. He's got white shorts on. He's in a tank top. He might have ditched the hoodie," Eck said.
The suspect did not respond to several inquiries about whether he had been shot or injured, and eventually was walked to a patrol car and placed inside it. According to the video, police recovered a loaded .45 caliber firearm and a loaded .9mm Glock 17 with a high capacity extended magazine.
Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said Wednesday that the body camera footage provides "phenomenal evidence in cases like this that just didn't exist before."
"What it does is it shows everybody what the officers are seeing, doing and how these interactions play out," Gramaglia said.
He noted that the initial interaction between the officers and the men on the street was "casual" and even "jovial" before the quick escalation to violence.
"Police officers, for decades, have been saying how quickly things can escalate. Now citizens are able to see what officers are talking about," Gramaglia said.
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