Buffalo Man Arraigned on Felony Charge for Allegedly Referencing Jefferson Avenue Shooting in Threatening Phone Calls

Modified: May 16, 2022 12:37pm

5/16/2022

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 52-year-old Joseph S. Chowaniec of Buffalo was arraigned this morning before Buffalo City Court Judge Andrew C. LoTempio on one count of Making a Terroristic Threat (Class “D” felony).

It is alleged that on Sunday, May 15, 2022, at approximately 12:05 p.m., the defendant made a phone call to a pizzeria located on Delaware Avenue in the City of Buffalo. The defendant allegedly spoke with an employee and made a threat with the intent to intimidate or coerce that created a reasonable expectation of fear. The pizzeria closed for the day after the alleged incident.

It is further alleged that on Sunday, May 15, 2022, at approximately 12:47 p.m., the defendant placed a second phone call to a brewery located in downtown Buffalo. The defendant allegedly spoke with an employee and made a threat with the intent to intimidate or coerce that created a reasonable expectation of fear.

In both alleged threats, the defendant allegedly made a reference to the shooting that occurred at Tops Friendly Markets on Jefferson Avenue in the City of Buffalo.

Chowaniec is scheduled to return on Friday, May 20, 2022 at 9:30 a.m. for a felony hearing. He was remanded without bail pending the results of a forensic examination.

Judge LoTempio issued temporary no-contact orders of protection on behalf of the victims, which includes their place of employment.  

“This defendant is accused of making threatening phone calls to businesses and referencing this horrific shooting as the entire City of Buffalo is grieving this tragedy. This crime will not be tolerated – especially as we are actively investigating the Jefferson Avenue shooting as a domestic terrorism incident. Any threat will be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Erie County DA John Flynn.

If convicted of all charges, Chowaniec faces a maximum sentence of 7 years in prison.

DA Flynn commends the Buffalo Police Department for their work in this investigation.

As are all persons accused of a crime, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.