By Tristan Smith
NEW YORK — An unarmed security guard at an upstate New York drug clinic went into “survival mode” when a man armed with a semi-automatic rifle entered the clinic. After firing the gun inside the treatment center, the unarmed guard managed to tackle the shooter to the ground and successfully disarm him – with the help of another security guard – without incident, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told WGRZ reporters.
The incident happened Thursday at the Alba de Vida methadone clinic in Buffalo, New York. Footage of the incident released by the Buffalo Police Department reportedly shows Jeremy Griffin, a 48-year-old man from Williamsville, NY, entering the clinic armed with an AR-15 type semi-automatic rifle.
Alba de Vida security guard Reynaldo Beckford had his back to the clinic door when Griffin entered the reception area.
“When I turned around I saw out of the corner of my eye I saw the person and the gun,” Beckford said, telling ABC Buffalo that at that point he walked into ” survival mode”.
The video shows Griffin firing a shot at the wall of the clinic before Beckford signals people inside the clinic to flee the area. The unarmed security guard then lunged at the gunmen, grabbed the nose of his rifle and slammed it against the wall as another shot was fired.
“When I got him with the gun, I started saying Jesus Jesus Jesus, and that’s when he turned around,” the security guard told ABC Buffalo. “He stopped fighting for a moment, and that’s when the other security guard started coming down the stairs.”
The video shows Beckford and the other security guard battling Griffin on the ground. Beckford told the news station that Griffin wouldn’t keep his finger on the trigger, so they had to struggle to disarm him.
Beckford told ABC Buffalo that a janitor at the facility came to help guards and pulled the gun from Griffin’s hands. Buffalo police quickly responded to the scene and arrested Griffin in connection with the incident.
Police Commissioner Gramaglia told WGRZ reporters that Griffin was charged with multiple crimes – including attempted murder – in connection with the incident and a shooting that occurred moments before he entered the clinic. Authorities charged Griffin with stopping at a Buffalo home on Pennsylvania Street and shooting a woman in the leg before going to the clinic.
The woman was rushed to Erie County Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.
“[Both shootings] were an attempted robbery looking for what we believe to be drugs,” Police Commissioner Gramaglia told WGRZ. “There was, at this stage, no other motive other than an attempted theft.”
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn told the news station that Griffin will undergo a forensic evaluation due to a mental health issue. He is expected to be arraigned in Erie County Court on Tuesday.
Buffalo police investigate the origin of Griffin’s AR-15. Officers said it had a 30-round extended magazine — an illegal magazine size in New York — and was loaded with more than 10 rounds of ammunition, according to WGRZ. Police do not believe the attack was planned.
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