Man shot by Falls police is charged

·4 min read

Jun. 18—BUFFALO — A Falls man shot by a police officer June 3 now faces both domestic violence charges and assault and weapons counts in connection with the incident that left him critically wounded.

Reginald D. Barnes, 29, was arraigned in his hospital bed at the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, on Friday afternoon on charges of attempted aggravated assault upon a police officer, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree criminal contempt, aggravated family offense, third-degree trespass and resisting arrest.

Niagara County District Attorney Brian Seaman said the most serious charge facing Barnes, attempted aggravated assault upon a police officer, carries a possible maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Represented by a Niagara County public defender, Barnes pleaded not guilty to the charges. Niagara Falls City Court Judge James Faso, who conducted the bedside proceeding, ordered Barnes held without bail.

Barnes is expected to remain at ECMC where he is reportedly still being treated for a gunshot wound to the chest. He had been listed in critical but stable condition after being rushed to ECMC and undergoing emergency surgery following the incident with Falls police on June 3.

Falls Police patrol officers had been dispatched, just after 5 p.m. that day, to a domestic incident in the area of 84th Street and Frontier Avenue. A female victim told 911 operators that her abuser, later identified as Barnes, who is currently serving a probation sentence for his conviction on a domestic violence-related charge, and is the subject of an order of protection, had been in the vicinity of her home.

Neighbors of the victim, reportedly chased Barnes from the area of the victim's apartment and then flagged down patrol officers in the vicinity of 81st Street and Niagara Falls Boulevard. Those officers then encountered Barnes in the drive-thru of a nearby pharmacy.

When the officers were advised that Barnes had violated the victim's order of protection, they attempted to take him into custody.

In video, recorded on the body worn camera of Falls Police Officer Dominic Sense, Officer Gregory Paul is seen approaching Barnes, who is standing next to a police cruiser. Paul places his left hand on Barnes' left arm in an attempt to handcuff him, but Barnes jerks his arm away and begins to pull away as the officer tries to control him by grabbing his shirt.

The video shows Barnes fall to the ground and Paul attempts to bring him to his feet. Barnes is able to escape from Paul's grasp and the video shows that Senese has pulled out his Taser and is pointing it in Barnes' direction.

Barnes stumbles and almost falls and begins to run from the officers. Senese fires his Taser, but it appears to have no effect.

The video shows that Barnes stops running away from the officers, turns and begins to walk toward Senese with his left hand on his left pants pocket. While Senese continues to hold his Taser, Barnes pulls a knife from his pocket and runs directly at Senese.

As he reaches the officer, the video shows Barnes thrusting the knife over Senese's head. Police say Barnes then stabbed Senese in the back.

The Taser flies out of Senese's hand and he puts that hand in Barnes' face to push him away. As Senese retreats from Barnes, and the the video image widens out, Paul can be seen with his police issued handgun out of its holster and pointed toward the ground.

Lt. Joesph Scibilia, who is also on scene, can also be observed on the video with his handgun drawn and pointed in the direction of Barnes.

The body camera video shows Barnes turning from Senese and, still holding the knife, charging toward Paul. Paul levels his handgun and fires directly at Barnes.

The video shows Barnes put his hands up as he is hit by the gunfire and he falls face forward on a patch of grass. Barnes' body then rolls to a stop at Paul's feet.

Police performed emergency first aid on Barnes before he was taken ECMC.

Senese, who suffered what police said were minor injuries to his back and arm, was treated and released from Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. Falls Police Superintendent John Faso said the knife attack was blunted by Senese's ballistic vest.

Falls police have also placed both Paul and Scibilia, who is believed to have also fired his weapon at Barnes, on paid administrative leave as detectives continue their investigation of the shooting.