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Buffalo firefighter beaten into critical condition after St. Patrick's Day parade

The entrance to the Blackthorn Restaurant & Pub.
Blackthorn Restaurant & Pub
A firefighter was beaten into critical condition at the Blackthorn Restaurant & Pub after Sunday's St. Patrick's Day parade.

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn has long been critical about witnesses to East Side violent crime who tell police they saw nothing, they know nothing. Now he's going after Buffalo firefighters and others who were in a well-known South Buffalo bar but telling police they don't know how a firefighter was beaten into critical condition and sent to Erie County Medical Center.

Flynn said the injured firefighter was among other city firefighters who marched in the Old First Ward St. Patrick's Day parade Saturday afternoon and then went to the Blackthorn Restaurant and Pub. Around 5:30 p.m., first responders were called there for a "rescue call."

After the firefighter was taken to ECMC, police arrived shortly after and were told nothing about what happened. The DA said Tuesday afternoon, there still wasn't anyone talking, again comparing it to community silence on the East Side.

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn, with bookcases behind him, standing at a podium with media microphones on it.
Mike Desmond
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn addressed the case Tuesday afternoon.

Flynn said he's willing to start pushing if no one comes forward.

"The wife wants to know what happened. The mother wants to know what happened. The fire community wants to know what happened. The community in general wants to know what happened. And John Flynn wants to know what happened," he said, "and if I gotta make life difficult for people who were at that bar, I'll do it."

Flynn said there is no surveillance footage of the incident. He can't even say if a crime was committed because no one will say if it was just a bar fight or if it was more than that, which could turn it into a crime.

"There may have been two guys in a fight. It's a normal bar fight. And at the end of the day, it may not be criminal and I may be pontificating here, unnecessarily, quite frankly," he said. "I can confirm the victim was in uniform. I can confirm that there were multiple firefighters in uniform at the bar. But I can't confirm, right now, whether there was another firefighter involved in this matter or anyone else involved. I just don't know enough yet."

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.