BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Erie County District Attorney John Flynn revealed new details about Tuesday’s high-speed chase where three Buffalo Police officers were shot.
Flynn spoke after 28-year-old Kente Bell was arraigned and remanded without bail Thursday afternoon at Erie County Medical Center, where he underwent surgery for a gunshot wound. Bell remained unconscious until late Thursday morning.
“He asked to turn the tv on, so if he wants to watch tv, he can be arraigned,” DA Flynn said.
Bell was charged with three counts of first-degree attempted murder of a police officer and criminal possession of a weapon.
Flynn said at 5:58 p.m. Bell was sitting in a vehicle with a female passenger at the foot of Ferry Street. The DA revealed that two female Buffalo Police officers approached the car because of its tinted windows.
Bell turned over his license to the officers, and it was determined there was “an issue with the registration.” He was asked to get out of the car but told officers that he couldn’t because he was partially paralyzed from a 2012 shooting.
When officers continued to press Bell on the issues with his registration, he sped away, according to DA Flynn. The 28-year-old’s passenger bailed out of the front passenger seat of the moving car on Military Road. She rolled onto the street and hit a pole.
No gunshots had been exchanged up to this point.
“She had no role in him shooting anyone, she had no role in him putting his foot on the pedal to go, she had no role at all,” Flynn said.
After she rolled out of the vehicle, Bell turned onto Austin Street and fired gunshots near the intersection of Austin Street and Tonawanda Street.
“He fired the first shot, it’s crystal clear. He fired the first shot, officers did not fire upon him at all while they were chasing him down here on Tonawanda, on Military and Austin. He fired the first shot,” Flynn made clear.
Flynn debunked an initial report, which claimed there was an additional passenger in the backseat firing at officers; however, the investigation revealed Bell was alone in the car, shooting out the drivers side window.
No Buffalo Police officer has been charged with firing at Bell. Flynn says he is half way through his investigation to clear all BPD personnel who were involved in the chase.
Buffalo Police unsuccessfully tried to stop Bell with a police cruiser roadblock on Niagara Street, just before the NY-198. Flynn said he doesn’t know yet why the roadblock failed.
Bell did not fire any shots while on the 198 or 33, but when he got off at Bailey Street, he struck Officer Trevor Sheehan, who has been on the force for seven years, in the arm. His ear was also grazed by a bullet. He was treated and released from ECMC Tuesday night.
Officer Christopher Wilson, who has been on the force for four years, was shot in the chest in his bulletproof vest on Genesee Street. He was also treated and released.
Then, the chase crossed into Cheektowaga, but Flynn is not sure if Cheektowaga Police responded to the pursuit.
Officer Joseph McCarthy, who has five years on the force, was shot in the stomach after the chase came to an end on Fillmore and East Ferry. McCarthy remains at ECMC after undergoing surgery. He is expected to be OK.
At the intersection of E. Ferry Street and Fillmore Ave., Flynn says the majority of shots were fired by police and Bell. The pursuit ended at 6:20 p.m. in front of the Ferry Express Mart and across the street from the Buffalo Police C District precinct.
Friendly fire is also a main pillar of the investigation. Even if an officer was hit by friendly fire, Bell will still be charged with attempted murder.
Bell has been charged with three counts of attempted murder of a police officer in the first degree and criminal possession of a weapon. Police tell us they recovered a handgun from his car. He has been on probation for illegal possession of a firearm out of the Town of Amherst since 2020. The District Attorney says Bell had no violations on his probation record prior to Tuesday’s car chase and shooting.
“This is literally out of movie. I mean, you have a high speed chase. You may or may not have some handicap equipment okay, but…you got a guy firing out the driver’s side window here. You’ve got a blockade. You’ve got speed on highways. You’ve got a girl jumping out of the car,” Flynn added.
Bell is scheduled for a felony hearing Monday morning, almost a week after a chaotic shootout that took a wild turn in Buffalo. According to Flynn, the maximum sentence for these charges is 50 years to life in prison.
On Friday, Bell will be arraigned on the probation violation at ECMC.
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.