October 23, 2021

Cortland cop shot on Elm Street; standoff continues past midnight

Police officer stable with wounds to his legs

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Police and special response team specialists cluster Friday night outside a building on Elm Street in Cortland, where a man held off police after a police officer had been shot.

A Cortland police officer arriving at a 12 Elm St. house to check on a domestic disturbance complaint Friday night was shot three times in the legs from a man on the porch and returned fire, city Police Chief F. Michael Catalano said late Friday.

The standoff continued past midnight.

“As our officer exited the vehicle, he was met by gunfire from the front porch,” Catalano said, adding that patrol cars from city, Cortland County Sheriff’s Office and SUNY Cortland University Police quickly arrived and pulled the officer to safety.

The officer, who was not identified, was taken to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, where he was in stable condition, Catalano said. He said the officer’s family had been notified.

The suspect, who had a criminal history, lived in the house with his brother and mother, Catalano said.

The man went into his house after the shooting and would not leave, prompting a standoff that lasted hours and brought two armored police vehicles and a Syracuse police robot to the scene.

“We had a real history with him,” Catalano said, but declined to elaborate.

Elm and Church streets and Clinton Avenue were closed to traffic while dozens of police cars lined Church and Elm streets.

Cortland County District Attorney Patrick Perfetti was also on the scene.

Police packed the scene near Elm and Church streets, where the shooting was reported, Lt. David Guerrera said from the scene.

The initial call was made at 7:59 p.m., said Scott Roman, the county’s director of emergency response and communications.

Spotlights were trained on a house several doors east of the intersection. Traffic was closed on Clinton Avenue between Church and Greenbush streets.

City police, Homer police, state police, Cortland County sheriff’s officers were all on the scene. So were Syracuse police. Police were wearing camouflage and body armor. Guerrera said a man was still inside the building, as residents were evacuated from neighboring homes.