BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A sniper rifle fell off the roof of a building during Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Buffalo Police confirmed.
The incident occurred at 560 Delaware Ave. at the corner of Allen Street. Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia says the security plan for the parade was thorough, but the department is investigating to make sure something like this never happens again.
“This is something that doesn’t happen. I don’t ever recall hearing something like this ever happening,” Commissioner Gramaglia said.
Photos of the incident show an officer looking over the edge of the building at a gun on the ground, which narrowly missed parade goers and a hotdog stand.
“If protocol was followed and yet that still happened then we have to look into other policies and procedures to make sure nothing like this ever happens again,” Commissioner Gramaglia added. “I would be confident saying the best and most thorough planning for an event that we had. This is something that occurred. This is not a lack of planning. We have to look at protocols.”
No injuries were reported in relation to the incident. According to law enforcement officials, the gun would not have fired from falling to the ground. Legal analyst Barry Covert says a civil lawsuit is unlikely in this case because there were no injuries.
“Even if the protocols were followed, it still is negligence that it was set up in this manor on a windy day that allowed the wind gust to carry it over the edge of the building,” Covert said.
The rifle fell as a Buffalo SWAT officer conducted routine surveillance on top of a building on Delaware Avenue, Police Commissioner Gramaglia said.
“I saw one picture so I am not sure who was visible on that. Like I said, we do have someone up there with the weapon officer on observation,” Commissioner Gramaglia told News 4.
A witness who was across the street at the time of the incident says it all happened before the parade made it to Delaware and Allen. They claim that officers left the rifle unattended and a gust of wind blew the gun, tripod and weighted bag off the building.
The rifle was on a tripod with a weighted bag when it fell from the roof onto the street below. Buffalo Police say they are looking at wind as a factor and an internal investigation is being conducted.
The rifle was recovered by Buffalo Police officers.
This is a developing story, check back for updates.
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native and Emmy nominated reporter who joined the News 4 team 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.