Off-Duty Buffalo Police Officer Arraigned on Misdemeanor for Leaving Loaded Handgun Inside Vehicle

Modified: February 21, 2023 1:31pm

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Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 28-year-old Mitchell R. Thomas of Buffalo was arraigned on Friday afternoon before Buffalo City Court Justice Shannon Heneghan on one count of Failure to Safely Store Firearms in the First Degree (Class “A” misdemeanor). 

It is alleged that on Sunday, October 9, 2022, at approximately 5:09 p.m., Buffalo Police officers were responding to a 911 call when they observed an unsecured pistol in plain view inside of an unoccupied vehicle parked on the 300 block of Franklin Street.

T he 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.

Thomas is scheduled to return on Monday, March 13, 2023 at 9:30 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, Thomas faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail.

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

This case is being prosecuted by Chief Stephen C. Earnhart of the Buffalo City Court Bureau.

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