Off-Duty Buffalo Police Officer Arraigned on Misdemeanor for Leaving Loaded Handgun Inside Returned Rental Car

Modified: November 22, 2022 3:32pm


Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 27-year-old Dequinn Saunders of Buffalo was arraigned yesterday morning before Tonawanda Town Court Justice Daniel T. Cavarello on one count of Failure to Safely Store Firearms in the First Degree (Class “A” misdemeanor). 

It is alleged that on or about October 7, 2022, the defendant left his legally-owned, loaded handgun underneath the front passenger seat of a rental car. The defendant allegedly returned the vehicle to the rental agency on Sheridan Drive in the Town of Tonawanda before retrieving his handgun.

The defendant, an officer with the Buffalo Police Department who was off-duty at the time of the alleged incident, is accused of failing to safely store the firearm by leaving his personal, loaded weapon outside of his immediate possession.

Saunders is scheduled to return on Monday, December 5, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. for further proceedings. He was released on his own recognizance as the charge is a non-qualifying offense for bail.

If convicted of the charge, Saunders faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail.

DA Flynn commends the Town of Tonawanda Police Department for their work in this investigation.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Sandra K. Cassidy of the Justice Courts Bureau.

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