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Buffalo Police officer critically injured in car chase of four suspects

Mike Desmond / WBFO News
Multiple police agencies responded to the Harlem Road scene Thursday afternoon.

A citizen's call of four men with a gun Thursday led to a police chase through Buffalo's East Side and Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Cheektowaga. When it ended on Harlem Road, four suspects were in custody and one police officer was at Erie County Medical Center in critical condition.

Buffalo Police officer Jonathan Negron, 29, responded to the gun call near Genesee Street and Crossman Avenue just before 1 p.m. Not far from the city line, Cheektowaga Police soon joined in the chase. Minutes later, Negron was unconscious in ECMC's Intensive Care Unit with a serious head injury.

Buffalo Police Chief of Staff Capt. Jeff Rinaldo said the suspects' car hit a light pole, knocking it over the officer's patrol car.

"It went through the driver's window, striking the officer who was driving the police car," Rinaldo said. "Other officers on the scene were able to apprehend all four suspects, while other officers did pick the officer up and transported him to ECMC in a Buffalo Police vehicle."

The four suspects were taken to Buffalo Police Headquarters for processing. They have not been named. Rinaldo said it is too early to list the charges against them.

Negron has been a cop for two years. He is stationed at C-District on East Ferry Street.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News
Buffalo Police Capt. Jeff Rinaldo (l) and Cheektowaga Deputy Police Chief Brian Gould address the media Thursday afternoon.

Cheektowaga Deputy Police Chief Brian Gould said the two departments are working together.

"Our units are assisting the Buffalo Police Department's Accident Investigation Unit in reconstructing the accident," Gould said. "So we're working together, as we commonly do on incidents that go over the line."

Accident investigators spent hours probing the crash scene, while Buffalo and Cheektowaga Police, State Police and Erie County Sheriff's deputies walked the route of the chase, looking for evidence.

Even so, Rinaldo said the case remains with Buffalo Police.

"Any time a pursuit originates or a chase, whether on foot or in a vehicle, in one jurisdiction and comes to an end in another, as long as they don't cross state lines, that pursuing agency is the one that takes the arrest and conducts the investigation," he said. "As I said, Cheektowaga will assist in the accident report, the accident investigation."

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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