Buffalo Man Pleads Guilty to Attempted Murder and Other Charges in Four Separate Cases

Modified: February 22, 2021 12:03pm

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Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 22-year-old Tombe Yanga, also known as Tom Yanga, of Buffalo pleaded guilty to the highest sustainable charges in four separate criminal cases before State Supreme Court Justice Paul B. Wojtaszek on Friday afternoon.

On March 13, 2019, at approximately 8:00 p.m., the defendant forcibly stole a vehicle from the victim at knife point on Arkansas Street in the City of Buffalo. The following day, at approximately 11:00 p.m., a Buffalo Police officer on routine patrol located the stolen vehicle on Plymouth Street. The officer watched the defendant get into the vehicle and drive away. The officer pursued the vehicle onto West Avenue where the defendant exited the vehicle and ran off. Two other police officers responded to the call and apprehended the defendant nearby a short time later.

Yanga pleaded guilty, as charged, to one count of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree (Class “E” felony).

On July 22, 2019, the defendant, while seated in a vehicle, fired multiple shots into another vehicle on Tonawanda Street in the City of Buffalo. A passenger of the target vehicle was shot in the back, but survived the injury. Buffalo Police responded and located the suspect vehicle nearby. As officers approached, they smelled the odor of marijuana, which prompted a search of the vehicle. Two illegal pistols were recovered from underneath the front passenger seat. The cartridge casings recovered from the scene of the shooting were determined to be fired from one of the recovered illegal weapons, which was linked to the defendant through DNA evidence.

Yanga pleaded guilty, as charged, to one count of Attempted Murder in the Second Degree (Class “B” violent felony), one count of Assault in the Second Degree (Class “D” felony), and one count of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree (Class “C” violent felony).

On August 15, 2019, the victim was leaving a corner store on Grant and Hampshire Streets in the City of Buffalo when he was attacked by three unknown individuals. During the assault, the victim’s wallet and bicycle were stolen. The defendant was identified as one of the assailants.

Yanga pleaded guilty, as charged, to one count of Robbery in the Second Degree (Class “C” violent felony). The cases against the two other defendants remain pending.

The defendant was the target of a search warrant that was executed by Buffalo Police at an apartment on Grant Street on September 19, 2019. After the defendant was transported to the police station, officers found a bag that contained smaller bags of powder cocaine and heroin during a standard sweep of the patrol vehicle.

Yanga pleaded guilty, as charged, to two count of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree (Class “A” misdemeanors).

Yanga faces a maximum of 25 years in prison when he is sentenced on Friday, April 9, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. He remains held without bail.

DA Flynn commends the Buffalo Police Department Gun Violence Unit and patrol officers for their work in these investigations. The DA also commends Senior Case Manager Shannon Ellis from the office’s Victim/Witness Services Bureau for her assistance in the shooting case.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Brian D. Langenfeld of the DA’s Tactical Prosecution Unit as well as Assistant District Attorney Gina M. Gramaglia of the DA’s Domestic Violence Bureau.