Witness says whether he was shot or not, Officer Acquino thought he was, as he screamed, “I was shot.”

There’s no doubt about it. The scene was chaotic and crazy. Two Buffalo police officers fighting with a man, wrestling around on the street. Liz Brennan says she’ll never forget what she saw that day; she was in her car when she saw the commotion. Two officers trying to restrain a man, who wouldn’t go down, “The cops were trying to restrain him, trying to get him to the ground but he wouldn’t go down. He refused to go down. He was moving erratically,” Brennan said, “And wouldn’t go down and eventually broke away.”

She told me on Sunday, that she was a bit confused because at first she didn’t hear a gunshot, “We did not see the officer get shot, we just saw his ear hanging, we don’t understand how we missed that. All of a sudden his ear was hit. He was hit. I couldn’t believe it.”

Brennan says she is not sure exactly what happened, whether Joseph Acquino was really shot or not, but it was crystal clear to her, that he thought he had been shot, “He was saying, ‘Oh my God I’m shot’. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. The man started to run, he ran through a few yards on Peoria Street at Garfield. There was a witness on scene, a nurse, who was helping the police officer. Then all of a sudden, there were a lot of people helping the police officer.”

According to a source, it is possible that Officer Joseph Acquino was not shot, but instead, injured when the air bag in Jose Hernandez-Rossy’s vehicle deployed. Brennan says that makes sense, “One police officer stood up, was screaming help me, help me. His ear was hanging on by a thread. He was screaming and yelling. The other officer got on his one knee and fired two shots, he missed and put his gun away and started chasing him.”

It seems clear to Brennan, who told me by text today, that both officers seemed to believe that Officer Acquino was shot, and as a witness, she thought the same thing because of the blood, the ear hanging, and the officer’s screams.

Jose Hernandez-Rossy was shot in the shoulder, collapsed a short distance from where the confrontation with police was, and died of his wounds.

The State Attorney General’s Office is investigating this case.


Mary Friona