CONCORD, N.Y. (WIVB) – Matthew Eck walked into Town of Concord Court Tuesday morning to be arraigned on two counts of first degree attempted murder and said to reporters, “I made a big mistake.”
During a 12-hour standoff with police overnight on Sunday, authorities say the 48-year-old fired at two deputies in their patrol cars. While walking into court on Tuesday, Eck said he had been drinking and doesn’t remember what took place. He advised others “not to mix alcohol, medicine and drugs.”
“I was on moonshine and I had a black out and I don’t remember what I did, to tell you the truth. I don’t remember,” Eck said.
Authorities say Sunday night around 9 p.m., deputies responded to a domestic violence call at a home on Brown Hill Road. When sheriff’s deputies Brad Ballentine and Jonathan Hanna arrived to the scene, they say Eck fired directly at them, leaving bullet holes in their vehicles and windshields.
Hanna was taken to ECMC after getting glass in his eyes. He was later released. News 4 expects to have the opportunity to speak to both deputies during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
Authorities believe a high-powered rifle was used to fire at least 60 bullets during the stand off, 25 of which they believe were fired at deputies. Eck says he never intended to hurt anyone.
“I am very sorry. I ruined my whole life, my family’s too. I’m not proud of anything,” Eck said.
Eck sat quietly in the courtroom, except for the occasional clink of the chains around his ankles as he nervously shook his leg. His brother was the only family member in court until Eck’s wife entered wearing a CSX jacket. On seeing her, Eck began to tear up and mouthed the words “I love you” to her.
Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard said Eck had several contacts with police before Sunday’s shooting. However, he said there was nothing in Eck’s history that would have ever tipped them off to something larger, like this standoff.
Eck holed up inside his home for hours as law enforcement tried to negotiate with him. FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Holly Hubert, said communication was a little challenging at times.
“The situation was complicated by texting, which is a new form of negotiating in the hostage negotiating business. As you know, you can’t fully appreciate the context of a conversation over text. So to that degree it was complicated a little bit. The communications were ongoing all night long, off and on,” Hubert noted.
After the standoff, Eck was taken to ECMC for a mental health evaluation. He was arraigned Tuesday morning on two counts of first degree attempted murder, where he pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he could face life in prison.
Assistant District Attorney James Bargnesi said, “it remind everybody what a dangerous job it is to be a police officer. And by the grace of God, they weren’t killed.”
As he left the court, News 4′s Ed Drantch asked him what he thought the future holds. Eck replied, “Not much.”
He waived his right to a felony hearing and was taken back to the Erie County Holding Center without bail.