An off-duty Buffalo police officer returning to his Lisbon Avenue home Monday afternoon shot and killed a suspected burglar who apparently confronted the officer with a gun he had just stolen the home, the officer’s attorney said.
“This is one case where a burglar picked the wrong house as a target,” Police Benevolent Association attorney Thomas H. Burton told The Buffalo News.
Burton identified the off-duty officer as Duane Luchey, a 16-year veteran of the Buffalo Police Department who is currently on injury leave.
Neither Burton nor a Police Department spokesman would identify the dead suspect.
Officials said the suspect was a man in his early 50s with a long history of arrests and convictions.
Burton said he fully expected Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III to ask a county grand jury to look into the shooting. Burton said Luchey will waive immunity to talk to that panel.
“One would be hard-pressed to find a more legitimate use of deadly physical force” than the reported confrontation of the burglar, who was in a second-floor apartment in the officer’s home, and the officer who had come back after being out of his house for some time today,” attorney Burton said.
According to Burton, Luchey came home at about 1:30 p.m. Monday to his home on Lisbon Avenue in the University District and was shocked to find a previously closed – but not locked – dresser drawer open. Missing were one of the officer’s semiautomatic handguns and some ammunition.
Then Luchey heard someone on the second floor. The officer yelled, “Stop. Police,” as the burglar came downstairs.
The officer, who was armed with another gun, opened fire, and the burglar stumbled out of the house and fell dying to the sidewalk.
Police recovered the stolen service handgun and other property belonging to the police officer, inside a satchel found next to the dying man.
No one else was home at the time of the incident.
Burton said Luchey, whom he is representing, is cooperating fully with homicide detectives.
He also said that departmental officials would launch a mandatory departmental investigation of the shooting incident.