The images, which were shared to WGRZ by Andrew Mavrogeorgis, show the officer positioned on top of a building in downtown Buffalo, while the rifle is place on the edge atop a stand located several feet away from him before falling over. Buffalo Police commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said the officer was in an overwatch position, which places an officer at a high vantage point to overlook mass gatherings as part of a security measure, when the dangerous incident took place.
“This is something that doesn't happen, can’t happen, nor I've never heard of this happening,” Gramaglia said via WGRZ.
An ongoing investigation into the incident has indicated that the rifle fell from its perch due to a heavy wind gust present in the area at the time and that the officer isn't believed to have mishandled the gun, according to Gramaglia.
“It's not that it was physically being handled, it wasn't dropped,” Gramaglia said. “I have to wait for the internal investigation to play out. But the early reports that I'm being advised on is it was secured on the tripod with a weighted bag, which is their protocol.”
The rifle fell within feet from spectators in attendance, but was quickly secured by another officer and removed from the scene. Retired Buffalo Police captain Jeff Rinaldo told WGRZ that the fallen firearm didn't present any immediate risk to the public at the time of the incident.
“These weapons are not something like a handgun or something where you could just pick it up and the average person would know how to utilize it,” Rinaldo said.