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Three Buffalo police officers, 1 suspect shot during car chase

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Audio Courtesy WGRZ Channel 2 News

Three police officers were struck by bullets during a police pursuit that traveled throughout Buffalo and West Seneca Tuesday evening.

Two suspects were arrested. One was shot and was in surgery at Erie County Medical Center on Tuesday night. The other was taken to Buffalo Police Headquarters, according to Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia.

Gramaglia said the incident started as a traffic stop that became a police chase, with at least two times when officers were shot at along the way.

All three officers have non-life-threatening injuries. One was struck several times and underwent surgery at Erie County Medical Center Tuesday evening. Another was hit in his bullet proof vest, a third was hit in his arm and had a bullet graze his ear, Gramaglia said .

"Thank God, that ... no civilians were hit, I think everybody got lucky," Gramaglia said during a news conference from ECMC, with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown Tuesday evening .

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Brown -who called the the shooting "brazen" - says he visited with two of the officers. He says both are in good spirits.

Names of the alleged shooters were not released Tuesday evening, and Erie County District Attorney John Flynn- who joined Brown and Gramaglia at the news conference- said that at that time he didn't know what specific charges could be forthcoming. Flynn added that he hasn't ever appeared publicly like this to comment on a case before an arraignment, but "This is a serious situation where three officers were shot.. and that is why I felt the need to speak on this."

The incident started a little before 6 p.m. when Buffalo Police officers went to stop a car for a traffic stop, around the foot of Ferry Street. There was a brief encounter and then the vehicle took off, Gramaglia said.

The car then drove north on Niagara Street. The police vehicle followed, and the suspect vehicle let someone out of the car a bit up the street. After that point, the suspect vehicle began shooting at the police vehicle. The chase continued through the upper West Side and Black Rock. At some point, they made their way onto the 190 to the 33, and then off onto Bailey Avenue. During this chase, the suspects continued to shoot at police, he said.

On Bailey, an officer was struck by bullets multiple times through the windshield of the car. The suspects continued to shoot and another officer in a different vehicle was later shot during the pursuit. The pursuit continued into West Seneca, and then came back into the city, according to Gramaglia.

The pursuit ended at the intersection of Ferry and Filmore. Gunfire was then exchanged between suspects and police, where one suspect was shot and another was taken into custody.

"These suspects showed absolutely no regard for the community," Brown said, "and [we are] certainly very pleased that two suspects are in custody because these are clearly very dangerous people."

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Emyle Watkins