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Aug. 7, 1941 – Feb. 16, 2014

Leonard Szafranski, a retired Buffalo police lieutenant, died Sunday in his West Seneca home after a long battle with cancer. He was 72.

Born and raised in Buffalo, Mr. Szafranski graduated from Hutchinson-Central Technical High School.

He went to the police academy and began his more than 30-year career with the Buffalo Police Department in 1963.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Buffalo State College in 1972.

Mr. Szafranski made news on Aug. 23. 1978, when he was shot in the line of duty while responding to a call of a man with a gun near the Central Library in downtown Buffalo.

Mr. Szafranski was sitting in his patrol car with his partner when a man with a rifle shot him in his left shoulder. The bullet came within inches of taking his life.

Mr. Szafranski rose to the rank of lieutenant before retiring in 1996 because of declining health.

He enjoyed fishing, gardening, golfing and cooking. During his retirement, Mr. Szafranski wintered in Florida. Mr. Szafranski attended Queen of Heaven Church in West Seneca, where he often volunteered, especially for the parish’s annual carnival.

Mr. Szafranski is survived by his wife of almost 50 years, the former Annette P. Staniszewski; two sons, John and Mike; two daughters, Ann Bays and Sandra Krawczyk; two brothers, Joseph and Daniel; and five grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Thursday in Queen of Heaven Catholic Church, 4220 Seneca St., West Seneca.