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Former Assistant US Attorney Burgasser dies at North Tonawanda marina

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WBFO file photo
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North Tonawanda Police were investigating the death of a former Assistant United States Attorney whose body was found unresponsive in the waters of a marina off Tonawanda Island late Sunday. In the meantime, George Burgasser is being remembered as a man who was "everyone's friend."

Burgasser was reportedly with his son on a boat in the harbor Sunday and visited briefly with another couple. North Tonawanda Police Captain Thomas Krantz, who leads the detective bureau, says Burgasser and his son later went below into the cabin but then the elder stepped out to the open portion of the craft above.

It is believed it was at that point he entered the water.

"The son didn't see him go in but called right away," said Captain Krantz. "He called his family and they called 911. He began looking for him. When we got down there, George's other son had responded and found him just a couple of docks down from where the boat was docked."

Burgasser was unresponsive and declared dead at the scene. Police were awaiting the results of an autopsy but it did not appear that foul play was a factor.

"At this point it's under investigation," Krantz said. "I never want to paint myself into a corner but no, it does not appear that way at this point. But we're going to continue to look at it just to make sure."

Burgasser retired from the US Attorney's Office in Buffalo last year. Current US Attorney James P. Kennedy issued a written statement paying tribute to the former federal prosecutor.

It reads: "On behalf of George Burgasser’s family here at the United States Attorney’s Office, we are heartbroken to learn this devastating news.  For over 29 years, George served the Department of Justice, first in Washington, D.C., and eventually as an Assistant United States Attorney here in Buffalo.  He served his country and our community with distinction.  He was everyone’s friend.  Fellow prosecutors, the defense bar, judges, juries, and even those he prosecuted, all respected George, but perhaps, most telling is the fact they all liked George as well.  He was passionate about his work yet remained compassionate to all with whom he came into contact.  He lived and worked by the greatest legal precept of all—the Golden Rule.  Our condolences go out to George’s loving family and countless friends. He will be missed by all." 

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.