LEWISTON, NY (WIVB) Investigators for the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office want to put the public at ease regarding a shootout which left a homeowner hospitalized and a suspect dead early Sunday morning.
“This wasn’t some random event. I believe this was targeted,” said Michael Filicetti, acting sheriff of Niagara County.
Galen Fischer, a man in his fifties called 9-1-1 just before 5 o’clock Sunday morning saying he’d been shot. Lewiston Police and a Niagara County Sheriff deputy showed up at his home on Mount Hope Road and wrapped a tourniquet around his upper leg.
“Especially for where he was struck was near a femoral artery. He could’ve bled out but the officers and the deputy did a great job in rendering that first aid,” said Chief Frank Previte, Lewiston Police.
It’s believed he exchanged gunfire with suspects who entered his home and one of them died from the gunshot wounds as the suspects tried to evade police in a 13 minute pursuit toward Lockport Road in Wheatfield. “I believe as soon as they saw our patrol vehicle, they attempted to evade. At one point, it almost seemed like they were driving in circles at some point,” said Acting Sheriff Filicetti.
Trooper James O’Callaghan says New York State Police also assisted in the pursuit, which often raises the safety awareness for any officer. “Eventually they pull over, what do you do? I mean are they gonna come out shooting, what’s the scenario here? So luckily, everything went exactly how you would hope it would happen.”
“I think the only better scenario is they could’ve pulled over initially, and maybe we could’ve rendered medical aid to that suspect,” said Sheriff Filicetti, who said officers could not save the life of a suspect in the car who died of a wound from the shootout at the house.
As of late Monday, no one was in custody and no one had been formally charged yet in the case, but investigators stress that serious charges are pending. Investigators continue to question the homeowner, three men and one woman.
“We just want to reiterate that obviously, tensions are high at this point and emotions are very high and we’re just trying to encourage everybody to kind of take a breath and step back and let us as law enforcement do our job,” said Chief Previte.
Sheriff Filicetti reiterated that message. “Let us get through to the end and then we’ll be more than willing to piece everything together and tell you everything that happened.”