2016 HEROISM AWARD

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ITALIAN-AMERICAN POLICE ASSOCIATION LAUDS THREE BRAVE POLICE OFFICERS AFTER ONE ESCAPES BULLET TO THE CHEST
The Safety on the Loaded .45 Caliber Handgun Prevented the Weapon from Firing.
Members of the Italian American Police Association of Western New York honored the bravery of three Buffalo Police Officers after one of the officers was nearly shot in the chest by a gun-toting robber. The IAPA hosted a recognition dinner for the three officers on Wednesday, August 10th at 7:30 p.m. at J’s White Elephant, 1404 Abbott Rd. in Lackawanna.


The incident took place on June 15th around 11:30 p.m. at Doat Street and Stewart Avenue in Buffalo when the three officers, driving in separate police cars, saw a robbery taking place.
Officer Anthony Fanara who was in one patrol car jumped out of the vehicle to chase down the suspect. Officers Joseph Acquino and Bradford Pitts who were in a separate police car also joined the foot chase.
Fanara caught up with the suspect, wrestled him to the ground and was trying to grab the loaded .45 caliber handgun from his hands when the robber pressed the gun into Fanara’s chest and pulled the trigger. The gun safety was still on, and the weapon did not fire. At that time, Officer Acquino was able to knock the weapon from the robber’s hand and the suspect was handcuffed by Officer Pitts.
“This could have been a terrible tragedy, “ says Stephen Lanza, President of the Italian-American Police Association of Western New York. “Instead, a potentially deadly situation was diffused because of the brave actions of all of these officers. We want to recognize that.”

 

The suspect, 18-year-old Andre Fuller of Buffalo has been indicted by acting Erie County District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty, Jr on charges of Attempted Murder in the First Degree, Attempted Robbery in the First Degree and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree. Fuller was remanded to jail.
Officers Fanara, Acquino and Pitts have been on the front lines of the Buffalo Police Department’s efforts to get illegal guns off the streets.
“Our community is proud of the brave work of these three officers and the Buffalo Police Department as a whole in removing the illegal weapons that are putting the lives of our citizens and our law enforcers at risk,” says acting District Attorney Flaherty. “Our office is committed to taking a tough stance prosecuting these cases and sending the criminals involved to jail.”

 

Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard was in attendance and congratulated and spoke of the bravery & professionalism that all three Officers demonstrated.
The three officers were presented plaques for their stellar example of protecting and serving our community.