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September 19, 2021 - 6:23pm

BREAKING NEWS: Shots fired after vehicle stopped on Route 33, near Mill Road

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  During the course of events yesterday we had a technical issue with the website.  This caused us to copy the original post and headline and create a new post with the same information and then delete the old post.  When we did this, all the comments disappeared with the original post.  I just wanted readers to know that no comments were deliberately removed.

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A person is in custody after two shots were fired on Route 33 in the Town of Stafford, according to a report from Howard Owens, publisher of The Batavian, who is at the scene.

Owens reported at 6:12 p.m. that a silver Pontiac sedan was westbound into the City of Batavia on Route 33 and it was weaving.

Just after passing Mill Road, a Genesee County sheriff's deputy pulled the vehicle over and a black male driver got out of the car and ran across Route 33 into a corn field on the south side of the road.

About three or four minutes later, a shot was fired, Owens said, calling back to report that a second shot has been fired.

Two sheriff's deputies and a City of Batavia police officer are on the scene.

Updates:

UPDATE 11:57 p.m. (by Howard): Suspect in custody as of about 10 or 15 minutes ago.

UPDATE 9:36 p.m. (by Howard Owens):  At shortly before 6 p.m., while returning home from Rochester on Route 33, I noticed a silver Pontiac sedan weaving.  He crossed the center line and the fog line once each and then went straight for a while.  I didn't immediately call it in.  Then it weaved multiple times so at 6:04 p.m., I called dispatch completing the call as we approached Griswold Road.  A few seconds later, the car slowed to about 45 mph.  At Route 237 it slowed again.  Then about 1/4 of a mile later, it accelerated to 75 mph.  I called dispatch again.  As we approached Mill Road I spotted a deputy parked in a drive lane in a farm field on the right side of the road.  I slowed to allow him in behind the vehicle.  The vehicle pulled over as soon as the officer his emergency lights. I was not planning to stop but as soon as the Pontiac stopped, the driver bolted from the car.  He was a tall, thinnish, Black male dressed in all black. He ran in a laneway between rows of corn near where there is a corn-for-sale stand at the side of the road. The deputy pursued on foot but stopped when he got to the start of the cornfield and he drew his weapon.  I later heard him tell another officer that he had seen the man with a gun in his belt.  I walked back from the way we came (to me, it feels like north but I guess it's really east) to watch the open field on that end of the incident to see if I saw the man fleeing.  After a couple of minutes, I decided he was more likely to run toward the Thruway where there was more cover so I walked back to my car.  Just as I reached my car, I heard a gunshot.  I took cover behind my vehicle. I heard at least four more shots while in that position.  At that point, two deputies and a patrol vehicle pulled in behind my vehicle and asked me to get in the backseat of the patrol vehicle.  I did.  Then the female passenger from the sedan got in the back seat.  I asked her what was going on.  She said she didn't know and that she had just met the driver earlier today.  I was left with a Batavia police officer who was blocking traffic at Caswell and Route 33 until about 8:30 when the Sheriff's Office provided me a ride home.  The situation as far as I know remains unresolved.  I'm told not to  expect a press conference tonight.  Law enforcement is on a secure channel now so further updates are going to be difficult to obtain.

8:21 p.m. -- The New York State Thruway traffic is moving very slowly.

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Photo above taken at 7:55 p.m.

7:47 p.m. -- Situation continues as Monroe County Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team arrives.

7:35 p.m. -- Latest report from Owens: Monroe County Sheriff's Office drone operator is on the scene.

7:26 p.m. -- The New York State Police helicopter has arrived on the scene (photo below).

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7:17 p.m. -- Police are indicating that at least a dozen shots have been fired, all by the suspect. His location is believed to be in a wooded area behind a tree east of Mill Road near the New York State Thruway.

6:53 p.m. -- Genesee County's Emergency Response Team has been dispatched to the scene.

6:45 p.m. -- Owens reported that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation officer has arrived with his K-9. He also said that a deputy reported that he saw a gun at the driver's waistline.

6:38 p.m. -- Police have ordered the scene to be evacuated, moving Owens east to Caswell Road. The driver of the car is still at large, with Owens indicating that all shots have been fired by the suspect.

6:30 p.m. -- A fourth shot has been fired. The person in custody is the female passenger in the car (photo above).

6:25 p.m. -- Multiple law enforcement vehicles are on the scene.

6:24 p.m. -- A third shot has been fired.

6:20 p.m. -- Route 33 is closed.

Photos by Howard Owens.

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