Suspect identified in fatal tractor-trailer shootout, sheriff details tense chase scene in Geneseo

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GENESEO, N.Y. (WROC) — The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office provided an update Thursday afternoon after a tractor-trailer chase ended in a fatal shootout on Wednesday.

A tractor-trailer driver involved in a police chase on 390 was killed during a shootout late Wednesday, according to Livingston County Sheriff Tom Dougherty, who added that no officers were struck in the crossfire.

The suspect has been identified as 58-year-old Joshua Blessed, a Virginia resident.

The sheriff provided more details on the timeline of events of the intense situation at Thursday’s press conference.

Dougherty said LeRoy Police Department attempted to stop the tractor-trailer for speeding at 8:35 p.m. The driver didn’t comply, drove off, and rammed two police vehicles. The sheriff said Blessed went towards Batavia, did a U-Turn and then drove in the direction towards Livingston County, and he crossed the county line into Livingston around 9:12 p.m.

Dougherty said Blessed entered Village of Geneseo, and attempted to ram more police cars, and began shooting at police cars on South Street. The sheriff say one patrol car took 20 hits. Soon after the chase continued on 390, briefly stopped on the ramp, and then Blessed fired more shots at police cars.

“He fired a lot of shots, we fired a lot of shots,” Dougherty said.

The sheriff said Blessed drove back north on 390, fired more shots at police cars, underwent more attempts to ram police cars. Dougherty says the suspect got off at Exit 8, where Livingston County sheriff’s deputies took shots at the trailer with long guns. The vehicle then went off the road and into a field, where Blessed was taken into custody with gunshot wounds, that ultimately proved to be lethal.

“I have no clue how nobody was hurt. It was a miracle,” Dougherty said. “So many shots fired, the sized of the vehicle, the way he was driving, so many civilians around. It’s truly unbelievable that nobody was injured except for the suspect.”

The sheriff said he is thankful for the effort and professionalism of other responding agencies.

“This isn’t a common type situation where you not only have a heavy, heavy vehicle that is near impossible to stop, but also then the person taking shots at cops,” Dougherty said. “So it was a stressful and tense incident and I commend all the members and all the agencies who were out there participating.”

The sheriff says there is still much to investigate, about Blessed and what drove him to what transpired Wednesday.

“You have the background of trying to put a timeline together on Blessed and figure out what today brought what was the last 24 hours of his life was like, why today, and try to get answers,” Dougherty said. “We do know our sheriff investigators have started digging into him and you will see when you dig into him there’s some anti-law enforcement statements on his social media.

“How extreme is he? What other encounters has he had with police?” Dougherty said. “But a specific cause, we do not have.”

The sheriff did not get into specifics regarding the contents of the semi. He did say police removed a handgun from Blessed.

An emergency alert was issued to residents in the area Wednesday night, saying “Livingston County currently in pursuit of a tractor trailer 390 SB from Geneseo, he is trying to ram traffic off the highway at this time.”

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