“The first half hour was just total chaos,” said Cheektowaga Police Lieutenant Anthony Filipski.
That's the only way Officer Dominic Schwartz, and Lieutenant Filipski can describe Tuesday’s shooting outside the Dollar General.
They should know.
They are being credited with taking suspect, Travis Green into custody moments after he allegedly fired some 20 rounds at the store. “You take this job to be the hero and that's what you want to do is save the day,” Schwartz said. “You make a determination in a split second how to stop it,” explained Filipski.
That moment was caught on a police dash cam. It shows Filipski pushing Green over a guardrail on Union Road. Filipski said he pushed him that way on purpose. “A lot goes through your head. You worry is he going to carjack someone? Is he going to get in the truck and start ramming people?”
The video shows Schwartz catching up a second later. “A lot of witnesses started coming up to me and pointing in the direction of where the suspect was.” “You're thinking is when we get the first call here at the airport plaza and then down here: are we being set up?” Filipski wondered.
Neither Schwartz or Filipski said they encountered an active shooter before. So, both said training played a key role in their response. “First thing: check his hands. That is what is capable of killing me. He ain't going to be able to shoot me with his foot. Since there's nothing in his hands, keep progressing with the training.” “He's not a threat to anyone because he is fleeing,” Filipski added. “We're not going to shoot him in the back because we don't do that. So, the decision was made to go hands on.”
Investigators said that turned out to be the right decision. Green wasn't seriously hurt and neither were the police veterans. “You know what this job might entail but every day you wake up you don't want to go to work thinking that you might have to kill someone.”