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Three people charged in SUV incident that injured three officers during protest

Erie County District Attorney's Office
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn (center) announce charges against three people from monday night's violence.

Three local law enforcement officers are recovering from injuries suffered when an SUV ran them down on Bailey Avenue late Monday as they stood on a roadblock during a tense protest.

Allegedly, an SUV carrying the three people drove through a police line, injuring the officers. There were shots fired as the van slashed through the police ranks.

New York State Police Troop A Commander Maj. James Hall said officers were sealing off Bailey Avenue.

"Those individuals made up of State Police and Buffalo Police personnel, and we were just holding a line on the road," Hall said. "At that time, there were some people in the crowd that were throwing rocks and things of that nature. And, again, we are trying to protect the people within the crowd that are peaceful protesters and at that time, that's when the traffic was stopped in front of the line and the individual that's driving the SUV went around and ran into the line and injured the officers, all three of them."

Buffalo Police officer Joseph Walters suffered a broken leg, New York State Trooper Ronald Ensminger suffered a broken leg and pelvis, requiring surgery, and Trooper Randall Shenefiel suffered a hand injury.

The two passengers in the van have been charged, as has the driver after treatment at Erie County Medical Center for a gunshot wound in the abdomen. Charged and held on bail were Walter Stewart, 28, and Sermaj Pigram, 25.

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said there are a lot of questions about the bullet wounds of two of the passengers.

"Shots fired from inside the vehicle. We are investigating whether shots fired by, perhaps, others outside and, obviously, there were shots fired by law enforcement," Flynn said. "And, so, I'm looking at all of the above and that's as far as I can go, right now, because, obviously, we need to have all of the evidence that was recovered at the scene tested."

Flynn said the charges related to the vehicle's contents.

"There was a gun, an illegal weapon, that was found in the back of that car," Flynn said. "Mr. Pigram and Mr. Stewart were charged with criminal possession of a weapon, in addition to criminal possession of stolen property, because that gun that was found in the car was reported stolen in January."

Buffalo City Court Judge Diane Wray put Pigram on $100,000 bail and Stewart on $175,000 bail. Flynn said that is because there were outstanding warrants for Stewart. Flynn wanted them held without bail.

The suspected driver, Deyanna Davis, faces arraignment Wednesday on felony assaulting an officer charges, along with the weapon possession and stolen property charges the other two also face.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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