Officer shot twice by ‘four time convicted felon’, ‘lifetime parolee’ caught trying to break into a home

ROCHESTER, NY- A Rochester, New York police officer escaped serious injury Tuesday when he was shot while on-duty in the northwestern New York city. And police now say they have the suspect in custody, according to 13WHAM.

Rochester police describe the suspect as a man whom they called a “lifetime parolee.”

The Rochester officer was shot while responding to a report of a man with a gun attempting to break into a home on Hague Street in the city shortly before 8am. Police reported the officer, Officer Bryan Sheridan was a 14-year veteran of the department, WROC reported.  

Capt. Mark Mura said when Sheridan and Officer Daniel Watson, a 13-year veteran arrived on scene, the suspect fired at them, striking Sheridan at least once in the upper body.

WHAM said sources told them the officer was shot in the neck. A later update said that Sheridan was shot twice, including once in the area of his waist.

Responding officers returned fire. The suspect, who was identified as 54-year-old James Hunter fled from the scene.

A police spokesman said that a backup officer who arrived at the scene shortly after the shooting transported to officer to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, where the officer was immediately taken to surgery. Officials said that the officer had been released from the hospital by Tuesday evening.

Interim police chief Cynthia Herriot-Sullivan said of the officer, “He was in fairly good spirits. He said he didn’t like all of the attention and he didn’t want all the fuss.”

“He’s definitely lucky or blessed, however you look at it, but certainly I’m really happy that he’s not more seriously injured. I’m just grateful for that,” Herriot-Sullivan said.

“Any time one of our officers are hurt, it’s a stressful situation,” Capt. Mura said. “We don’t want anybody in the community hurt—especially our officers. We do everything we can to protect our officers with training and tools and things of that nature. So yeah, it’s difficult—especially this time of year. But thankfully our officer appears to be in good condition right now.”

 A man who lives in the area, Charles Murrell described the situation as being “like Armageddon.” 

“This looks like it’s war,” he said. “At first–in this parking lot over here–you got like 50 cops and then you got state troopers with M-16s and it’s crazy.” 

Yet another neighbor, who didn’t want to identify himself told 13-WHAM:

“All you hear is the popping sound–like firecrackers. More like seven times or so. At first I didn’t realize what was happening,” the man said. 

By Tuesday evening, Hunter had been taken into custody, Rochester police announced. Capt. Frank Umbrino told reporters that Hunter had been found hiding in a backyard within the investigatory perimeter police had set up.

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WROC said that Hunter has been charged with:

  • Attempted Aggravated Murder
  • Burglary in the 1st Degree
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon 2nd Degree, 2 counts
  • Menacing a Police Officer
  • Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the 4th Degree

In August 2019, police allege that Hunter struck a Rochester officer with his car while fleeing subsequent to and outstanding Parole warrant. For that incident, he was also charged with:

  • Felony Attempted Assault of a Police Officer in the 2nd Degree
  • Obstructing Governmental Administration 2nd Degree

Officials said that as the officers approached the residence, Hunter began to shoot at them. Both officers returned fire, however Hunter was not struck.

When officers located Hunter, he attempted to flee, and suffered a broken leg when he was jumping over fences to avoid capture, police said. He also suffered a bite from a police K-9. He was transported to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries and was arraigned there.

Police said, “Hunter is a four-time convicted violent felon currently on lifetime parole. He has three prior violation of parole arrests—all of which he was reincarcerated for and then later released.”

WHEC-10 said that the local police union told their investigative reporter that it wants a parole detainer placed on Hunter to keep him in custody. The state said they are investigating that, and no other information was available.

The office of Rochester Mayor Lovely A Warren issued a press release in which she said:

“I am grateful that the officer is doing well and with his family. Please keep them in your prayers. The news today reminds us of the risks our men and women of the Rochester Police Department face very day. I am thankful for their service which keeps us safe and allows us to enjoy this holiday season. God bless them and our City.”

Likewise, the City Council Vice President Willie Lightfoot offered his thoughts and prayers to the injured “officer, his family and the entire Rochester Police Department.” 

Michael Mazzeo, president of the Rochester Locust Club Police Union was grateful to the community for their support of the injured officer. 

“All things considered he’s doing very well,” said Mazzeo.

“It’s going to be a period of time. This is the shock part. Then there’s the period of time after where you really think about things. We keep him close and we keep his family close. We keep other officers close as well. This affects everyone here.” 

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Author: Pat Droney

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