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Buffalo man under arrest, accused of making terroristic threats to area businesses

Police say he referenced Saturday's mass shooting
Chowaniec.jpg
Posted at 1:15 PM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-16 18:26:49-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW)  — A Buffalo man is under arrest, accused of making a terroristic threat.

According to the Erie County District Attorney's Office, this surrounds threats Joseph S. Chowaniec allegedly made to a pizzeria on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo and to a brewery downtown.

Investigators say the 52-year-old called both businesses Sunday afternoon and made threats referencing Saturday's mass shooting at the Tops Friendly Markets on Jefferson Avenue. 10 people lost their lives in that shooting, three people were injured.

EDITOR'S NOTE: 7 News has chosen to use Chowaniec's mugshot in accordance with our station mugshot policy, due to the nature of the accusations and the felony charge he faces. You can read our full mugshot policy here.

Chowaniec is scheduled to return on Friday, May 20 for a felony hearing. He's currently being held without bail pending the results of a forensic examination.

"This defendant is accused of making threatening phone calls to businesses and referencing this horrific shooting as the entire City of Buffalo is grieving this tragedy. This crime will not be tolerated – especially as we are actively investigating the Jefferson Avenue shooting as a domestic terrorism incident. Any threat will be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said Erie County DA John Flynn.

If convicted, Chowaniec faces a maximum of seven years in prison.