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A Buffalo police officer was shot in the leg while in pursuit of a suspect late Saturday afternoon in the city’s University District.

The officer was taken to Erie County Medical Center, where he was treated and released, police spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge said today.

The officer’s name was not released. Police identified the suspect as Jeffery Thomas, 22, of West Seneca. He faces charges of assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

The incident began at about 5 p.m. Saturday on Eldon Road, near Eggert Road, in the University District on the border with Amherst and Cheektowaga.

Police were responding to a report of a man with a gun standing at a bus stop and that’s then the pursuit began, DeGeorge said.

“Police say they were in pursuit of a man with a gun, when at some point the suspect discharged his weapon, striking the officer in the leg area,” DeGeorge said.

It appears that only one shot was fired from a yard on Eldon, where police cordoned off the scene with yellow crime tape.

Police recovered a weapon, which they believe was the one fired by the gunman.

While the gunman was not shot, he apparently suffered injuries during the confrontation with police, according to one source.

The quaint neighborhood is known as “Judge’s Row” because of the number of judges who used to live on the street, residents said.

A shooting – of a police officer, nonetheless – is rare on this block.

“Never before, let’s put it that way,” said Charles Greene, 76, who lives around the corner. “It’s a very, very good neighborhood.”

“If somebody was shooting at a policeman, where did he come from?” Greene said. “I’d be extremely surprised if they lived in this neighborhood.”

Residents wandered out onto the street, which was crowded with more than a dozen police vehicles and twice as many officers who were searching the backyard of a home on Eldon.

Mark Taylor, who lives across the street from where the shooting happened, never heard the gunshot.

He was at home waiting to watch a hockey game on television, when he heard a siren – then more sirens. He looked out the window and noticed all of the police cruisers on the scene.

“I looked out, and there was not one or two, but a lot,” said Taylor, 56. “There was something going on.”

Taylor said there has been trouble on the west side of Eggert, on Minnesota Avenue, where a homicide happened a couple years ago.

“It would be less surprising on that side of Eggert,” Taylor said. “The houses are over $100,000 here.”

email: jrey@buffnews.com