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February 26, 2018 - 6:00pm

UPDATE: Suspect in Thruway standoff taken into custody

posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, crime, Stafford, notify.

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Photo credit: Jim Burns.

NOTE: This was originally posted at 1:15 p.m. We've updated the time stamp to move it back up to the top of the home page. The suspect is in custody.

Minutes ago about a dozen State Police cars swarmed onto the Thruway at the Batavia exit after a vehicle stopped there briefly following a high-speed chase that began in Canandaigua for unknown reasons. Now the pursuit has begun anew.

The suspect vehicle is traversing the median of the Thruway, going eastbound and westbound intermittently.

Troopers were told to be on the lookout for the vehicle driven by a possibly suicidal male.

Spike strips were set up at the Batavia exit, but it is unclear if they were deployed.

There are currently three police cars parked near the Batavia Thruway exit 48; the male subject's latest location is near the Le Roy exit.

UPDATE 1:23 p.m.: The suspect vehicle is stopped at the Le Roy exit Stafford overpass.

UPDATE 1:44 p.m.: The vehicle is stopped on I-90 eastbound about one mile from the Route 237 overpass. A trooper is blocking westbound I-90; and eastbound a number of emergency vehicles are on scene and a helicopter is hovering overhead.

UPDATE 1:48 p.m.: The subject is alert in the vehicle but not responding to officers' commands. The Thruway is closed westbound at the Le Roy exit and eastbound at the Batavia exit.

UPDATE 3:13 p.m.: Now the eastbound Thruway is closed at the Pembroke exit. The continuing standoff has resulted in heavy traffic congestion on Route 98 (Oak Street) in Batavia. The subject is reportedly armed.

UPDATE 5:49 p.m.: Jim Burns, reporting for us with a position that has a good view of the scene, says the subject is in custody. We have no information yet on when the Thruway might reopen.

UPDATE 6:26 p.m.: The Thruway has been reopened in both directions.

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Maureen Estabrooks
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Any more updates Howard?

Howard B. Owens
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I just got home a short time ago. I left my position on Route 237 overpass because there was no information to be had there and we weren't close enough (several media outlets eventually gathered there) to get much in the way of pictures.

The Thruway is still closed in both directions.

Since this is Troop T and there's no way to legally access the scene, it's not really possible to provide much more information.

I'll post the pictures I have shortly.

Brian Graz
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Howard Owens and the Batavian were the *star reporter* for this story, on WBEN radio 930 this afternoon. Way to go... good job.

Howard B. Owens
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Thanks, Brian.

Also, thanks to Jim Burns, Alecia Kaus, and Billie Owens for their team effort assistance, as well.

Dan King
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I'm curious Mr. Graz. What should have they done differently to protect all the motorists? No shots fired. Everyone except the suspect went home.

Billie Owens
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A comment was deleted for profanity.

Brian Graz
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Firstly my previous comment was removed for my inappropriate use of a Trumpism that The Batavian does not allow. I understand and apologize for that.

To respond to Mr King's comment #5. I don't have a specific plan, I'm not a trained professional, but it seems too often the trained professionals don't have a good plan or expertise playing out either. I too am glad that the episode ended with no serious injuries or deaths. Especially no innocent person(s) hurt. But yesterday local Iraq decorated Veteran David Bellavia (who is now a co-host on the afternoon talk show on the AM radio 930 WBEN) in the real-time broadcast he gave a perspective that IMO was 'spot-on'. It can be heard at this Podcast link: http://www.wben.com/media/audio-channel/nys-thruway-shut-down-between-ro...
His point begins at the 22:20 minute mark. I couldn't summarize any better. Give a listen.

James Burns
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Graz,

I was actually at the scene for four hours and I was also on WBEN, at their request, to explain what I saw.

To break it down it was a single distraught man in car with a gun. This is what we know now. What did the police know about the event at 12:30 yesterday? Nothing.

As a veteran, I am sure Mr David Bellavia believes confronting a threat with overwhelming force is the best defense. Well the police did not know what the threat was so they threw the available resources at it to defend the public and protect this man from himself.

While I was there, twice, I saw about 4 to 6 marked State Police cars leave the scene as they began to understand what the threat was and what was going on. So they did deescalate as they came to understand the situation.

Had they been under manned and had the distraught man in the car started shooting and hurt someone on the highway or an officer, the Monday morning quarterbacking would have been complaining the police were not prepared and should have put more resources on the scene to protect the public. Right? So maybe its better to be safe than sorry. I am sure the police will evaluate their response, cost and the disruption closing I90 caused and be better prepared if it happens again.

It was a dangerous unknown situation. When it ended no one was hurt.

Good job NYS Police!

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