Driver Charged in Buffalo Police Chase That Ended in Gunfire

Driver Charged in Buffalo Police Chase That Ended in Gunfire
Buffalo, N.Y. (Screenshot/Google Maps via NTD)

BUFFALO, N.Y.—A driver accused of shooting at police officers during a long car chase through the streets of Buffalo that ended with an exchange of gunfire was arraigned Wednesday on five counts of attempted murder.

The wild March 29 chase resulted in three officers being struck, along with the suspect, Kente Bell. An investigation by the district attorney’s office found that two of those officers were hit by friendly fire, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said at a news conference announcing the charges.

Bell, 28, is accused of driving off during a traffic stop, then firing on police as they pursued him through city neighborhoods and on highways for more than 20 minutes. Prosecutors say he drove through a police barricade and drove wildly through several Buffalo neighborhoods before crashing his car.

The chase ended in a hail of gunfire in front of a police station at a Buffalo intersection. Bell was shot in his neck, arm, leg, and hand and is still recovering. The three police officers who were struck did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

Bell fired at least 14 shots from his vehicle. Because he was partially paralyzed, Bell drove a vehicle that did not require him to use his feet, Flynn said.

The district attorney said 16 officers fired shots, mostly at the crash scene. But he did not know how many shots police fired.

Bell was initially charged days after the chase. He was arraigned Wednesday on the five counts of first-degree attempted murder and one count of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, among other charges.

Bell was ordered held without bail. A call seeking comment was made to Bell’s attorney.

Flynn said there would be no criminal proceedings against any of the officers, though he suggested not all of them responded appropriately.

“There is no penal law violation that articulates common sense, and so I cannot charge any Buffalo police officer with a violation of common sense,” Flynn said.

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