ADVERTISEMENT

TONAWANDA, N.Y. (AP) A New York man who died inside his burning home was found in his basement with a long gun and oxygen tank, leading police to believe he may have been ready to engage officers if they came near.

Town of Tonawanda police say Tuesday that 60-year-old Joe Hollywood died of smoke inhalation after threatening a woman with a gun and setting his house on fire Monday morning.

The female acquaintance got out safely but Hollywood never emerged and firefighters let the fire burn, fearing he was armed.

Police say Hollywood positioned himself in the corner of the basement, apparently ready to engage police.

Hollywood had at least 18 encounters with police since 2003. Donning a costume, he was known as "Drunken Santa" at Buffalo Bills games and other public events.