Watch: Unarmed security guards thwart armed man's attempt to enter N.Y. clinic

The guards entered “survival mode,” tackling the man to the ground after the suspect fired a shot at the wall


By Tristan Smith
masslive.com       

NEW YORK — An unarmed security guard at an upstate New York substance abuse clinic entered “survival mode” once an armed man with a semi-automatic rifle walked inside the clinic. After firing the gun inside the treatment center, the unarmed guard managed to tackle the gunman to the ground and successfully disarm him — with help from another security officer — without incident, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told WGRZ reporters.

The incident occurred at the Alba de Vida methadone clinic in Buffalo, New York, on Thursday. Footage the Buffalo Police Department released of the incident reportedly shows Jeremy Griffin, a 48-year-old Williamsville, N.Y., man, walking into the clinic armed with an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle.

Alba de Vida Security Guard Reynaldo Beckford had his back turned to the clinic’s door when Griffin walked into the receptionist area.

“When I turned, I saw in the corner of my eye I saw was the person and the rifle,” Beckford said, telling ABC Buffalo that at that moment he entered “survival mode.”

The video shows Griffin firing a shot at the clinic’s wall before Beckford signaled for people inside the clinic to run from the area. The unarmed security guard proceeded to rush the gunmen, grab the nose of his rifle and wrestle him to the wall as another shot was fired.

“When I had him and the rifle, I started saying Jesus Jesus Jesus, and that’s when he turned back,” the security guard told ABC Buffalo. “He stopped fighting for a while, and that’s when the other security guard started coming down the stairs.”

The video shows, Beckford and the other security guard wrestling Griffin to the ground. Beckford told the news station that Griffin wouldn’t keep his finger off the trigger so they had to struggle to disarm him.

Beckford told ABC Buffalo that a facility janitor came to assist the guards and removed the gun from Griffin’s hands. Buffalo police shortly responded to the scene and arrested Griffin in connection with the incident.

Police Commissioner Gramaglia told WGRZ reporters Griffin was charged with multiple felonies — including attempted murder — in connection with the incident and a shooting that occurred moments before he walked into the clinic. Authorities accused Griffin of stopping at a Buffalo home on Pennsylvania Street and shooting a woman in the leg before going to the clinic.

The woman was rushed to Erie County Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

“[Both shootings] were an attempted robbery seeking what we believe to be drugs,” Police Commissioner Gramaglia said to WGRZ. “There was, at this point, no other motive other than an attempted robbery.”

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn told the news station that Griffin will undergo a forensic health evaluation due to a mental health concern. He’s expected to be arraigned on charges in Erie County Court on Tuesday.

Buffalo Police are investigating where Griffin’s AR-15 came from. Officers said it had an extended 30-round magazine — a magazine size that’s illegal in New York — and was loaded with more than 10 rounds of ammunition, according to WGRZ. Police do not believe the attack was planned.

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