Defendant Sentenced on Gun Charge After Officer's Weapon Fell Into His Vehicle During Arrest Attempt

Modified: April 29, 2021 2:51pm

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Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 50-year-old Joel P. Anzalone of Buffalo was virtually sentenced this morning by Erie County Court Judge Sheila A. DiTullio to a determinate sentence of 3 years in prison followed by 3 years of post-release supervision. He was sentenced today as a second felony offender.

On September 16, 2020, at approximately 2:30 p.m., Town of Hamburg Police Department detectives were a department store on Delaware Avenue in the City of Buffalo to obtain surveillance video of a suspect who used a credit card that was left inside a vehicle that had been stolen from the McKinley Plaza the previous day.

While the detectives were at the store, the defendant, who matched the description of the suspect in the video, returned. The detectives confronted the defendant in the parking lot to place him under arrest, but the defendant refused the officers’ orders to turn off the vehicle. The defendant drove away while the detectives held onto the vehicle.

One of the detectives was partially inside the vehicle, but was able to free himself as the defendant drove off from the parking lot. The detective’s holster and firearm were reported missing after the incident. The gun was later recovered.

Anzalone pleaded guilty to one count of Attempted Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree (Class “D” felony) on March 5, 2021.

DA Flynn commends the Town of Hamburg Police Department, the Buffalo Police Department and the New York State Police for their work in these investigations.  

The cases were prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Matthew S. Szalkowski of the Tactical Prosecution Unit.