No gunshots fired in incident on Route 33 in Stafford yesterday
There were no gunshots fired yesterday evening following a traffic stop near Mill Road on State Route 33 in Stafford after the driver ran into a cornfield -- either by the suspect or by law enforcement.
What was initially reported as gunfire turned out to be a wildlife scare cannon -- it emits loud blasts fueled by propane -- to deter birds and other wildlife from damaging crops.
The incident began at 6:04 p.m. when Howard Owens, publisher on The Batavian, reported a silver Pontiac sedan heading west on Clinton Street Road being driven in an erratic manner.
Near Mill Road, a Deputy was positioned in a laneway in a farm field waiting for the vehicle to pass.
The deputy initiated a traffic stop across from a sweet-corn-for-sale stand and a cornfield. As soon as the sedan stopped, the driver bolted from the vehicle and ran south into the cornfield. The deputy initiated a foot pursuit but backed off when he reportedly saw the suspect remove a handgun from his waistband.
The deputy detained a female passenger in the vehicle, placing her in handcuffs and returning her to the vehicle.
At that moment, there was a muffled boom, and Owens and the deputy took cover behind their respective vehicles. The deputy reported, "shots fired."
Over the next 15 minutes or so an additional three blasts were heard. During that time additional deputies and Batavia police officers arrived on the scene and Route 33 was closed in both directions. Owens was then evacuated from the scene by two deputies in a patrol vehicle.
Over the next few hours, additional law enforcement arrived from Monroe County and the State Police. SWAT units on scene included one from Monroe County, one from the State Police, and the Genesee County Emergency Response Team. The DEC K-9 unit also responded.
Law enforcement had a preliminary identification of the suspect based on statements from the female passenger.
The NYSP Aviation Unit helicopter was dispatched to assist and it coordinated with NYSP drone operators to search the area. Also assisting were the Monroe County Sheriff's Office drone operators.
The suspect was located shortly after 11:20 p.m. in an area about one mile to the northeast of the original location near Westbrook Road. He was attempting to seclude himself in a wooded area.
He was taken into custody without further incident.
Law enforcement did recover a handgun during a search of the area where the suspect had initially fled.
Taken into custody was Arthur J. Brown, 44, of Lake Street, Le Roy. He was charged with:
- Criminal possession of a weapon 2nd
- Menacing a police officer
- Tampering with physical evidence
- Obstruction of governmental administration 2nd
- Criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th
- Driving while impaired by drugs
- Failure to keep right
Brown was arraigned in Town of Stafford Court and jailed without bail.
The passenger of the vehicle was identified as Breanna A. Smith, 29, of Lexington Avenue, Rochester. Smith reportedly had an active warrant in Florida but Flordia officials declined to extradite Smith. She was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th and issued an appearance ticket.
Top Photo: Sweet corn sign this morning at the incident location.
Smith being taken into custody just after the driver fled and just before the first blast was heard.