Officer shot in Tonawanda expected to survive

Detective David Ljiljanich shot four times while investigating shooting overnight on Tuesday

WBEN Newsroom
May 26, 2020 - 7:26 am
The aftermath of a silver car rammed by a City of Tonawanda police cruiser on Morgan Street. May 26, 2020 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

The aftermath of a silver car rammed by a City of Tonawanda police cruiser on Morgan Street. May 26, 2020 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)


Tonawanda, N.Y. (WBEN) - A police officer for the City of Tonawanda was shot multiple times overnight by a person who was involved in a shooting earlier in the night.

Detective David Ljiljanich is currently at ECMC recovering from their injuries after being shot twice in their protective vest and once in the hip and thigh. Ljiljanich is expected to survive. 

Tonawanda Police Captain Fred Foels said there were three different incidents all connected to the officer’s shooting.

The first scene happened around 1 a.m. at Clinton and Morgan Street where a person was shot and taken to ECMC. Foels said the shooter fled in a silver car.  The shooter lived in a nearby apartment and it’s believed he returned to his apartment through the back door. Officers saw him and approached him, but he went upstairs. The shooter told officers, who were not aware it was the original shooter, he had to take care of his dog.

“He came down the stairs with some type of rifle and started shooting at us,” Foels said. 

City of Tonawanda police shooting weapon

Ljiljanich was standing on the porch of the duplex when shots were fired by the gunman through the wall of the home.

After shooting Ljiljanich and at other officers, the shooter fled again into his car and down Morgan Street. During the police pursuit, shots were again fired towards other officers. The gunman threw his rifle out the window near Kohler Street. It was near there when police rammed into the backside of the car, stopping it.

Police arrested the gunman after the car stopped.

Foels said they've had previous encounters with the suspect, though he did not release his name since he has not yet been charged with the crimes.

“It’s pretty fluid right now,” Foels said. “We’re trying to piece the whole sequence of events right now.”

"I basically heard gunshots, then cops yelling to get to the ground.  It was the scariest thing," said nearby resident Amelia Eddy in a WBEN interview. 

Police were huddled outside of the shooter's home late-Tuesday morning. Foels said they could not enter the home until they had a search warrrant.

An emotional Foels told WBEN's Mike Baggerman on the scene, "It was a first for me, over 30 years, first time I was ever shot at". 

Foels was shot at three times. Among the other officers who were shot at include his nephew's who was involved in the chase. A bullet struck the door of the officer's car.

It was Foels who pulled the detective to safety. 

"I got him behind my car and got him to safety," Foels said. "My car is shot up. My glass is out of my car."

The victim of the original shooting is in serious condition at ECMC. The gunman is expected to be charged and officially arraigned on Wednesday.



Comments ()