BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – 19-year-old Andre Fuller is heading to prison for the next 19 years of his life.
That was the sentence handed down by Erie County Judge Thomas Franczyk Friday morning for the man who tried to shoot a Buffalo police officer in June, 2016.
Andre Fuller pleaded guilty in November to 2nd degree attempted murder and criminal possession of a weapon.
On June 15, he was running away from the scene of a robbery on Doate Street, when Officer Anthony Fanara caught up with him and wrestled him to the ground. Fuller, who was 18 years old at the time, pressed his loaded handgun into Officer Fanara’s chest and pulled the trigger.
The gun did not go off.
Two other officers quickly came to Fanara’s aid, wrestling the gun away from Fuller and putting him in handcuffs.
“I think everybody is grateful – I’m not sure about you – but everybody is grateful, whatever the condition of the gun, that it didn’t go off,” Judge Franczyk said to Fuller Friday morning before handing down his sentence.
During the sentencing hearing, there were questions about why the gun did not go off. Fuller has said the safety was on, but prosecutors say that wasn’t true. “This firearm, if you have something up against it point blank and you pull the trigger, it will not fire,” Assistant District Attorney Ashley Morgan explained.
“The safety was on, and but for the safety not being on, shots would have been fired and there would have been injuries,” countered Fuller’s attorney, Giovanni Genovese.
“By the grace of God, no one was injured, your honor,” Genovese continued, as he addressed the court, “And I ask that you don’t sentence him in a fashion if someone was injured.”
Genovese asked the court for empathy in sentencing, citing his client’s difficult childhood and all the drugs in his system as major contributing factors for his actions that night in June.
Judge Franczyk noted Fuller has an anti-social personality disorder and said he doubted whether Fuller was sorry for what he did. “If this was something that you really felt bad about or regretted, I would get that vibe from you, and I really don’t,” he said.
Fuller did not speak in court Friday.
As part of the plea agreement reached in November, Fuller was facing between 15 and 20 years in prison. Officer Fanara and the District Attorney’s office both asked for the maximum sentence.
“We will not accept acts of violence towards police officers,” Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said. “Our police officers are out there every day serving this community, protecting us, and doing what needs to be done to make our streets safe, and when an individual takes it upon himself to do harm to a police officer, especially pulling gun out and putting it to his chest and pulling the trigger, that individual is going to be dealt with severely.”
Fuller was sentenced to 19 years in prison plus five years post release supervision for the attempted murder charge. He was also sentenced to 15 years in prison plus five years post release supervision for the weapons charge. Those sentences will run concurrently.