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Deputies fire guns at man ramming cruiser with truck

QUEENSBURY A man repeatedly rammed his truck into the front end of a Warren County Sheriffs Department cruiser Sunday evening, forcing the car backwards into a snowbank, and prompting the two deputies inside to fire their handguns at the suspect. The bullets tore through the windshields of both the patrol car and the truck windshield, but missed the man, county Sheriff Bud York said. Off-duty deputy Brett Flaherty, who happened to be reporting for work and saw the patrol car being battered, stopped the suspects rampage by boxing him in with his personal pickup truck, York said. The incident occurred at the Intersection of state Route 9 and Gurney Lane. Taken into custody and arrested was Michael J. Butler, 62, of Troy. He was charged with first-degree Attempted Assault and Assault on a Police Officer, both felonies. No one was seriously hurt in the incident. County Sheriff Bud York said Monday the two officers were justified in firing their guns. They were protecting their lives, he said. They did a great job I think they handled themselves very well under the circumstances. Our policy is that anytime an officer feels their life is in jeopardy, they are justified in shooting their guns. York guessed at Butlers motives. We believe it was a matter of revenge against the sheriffs department. Butler had been arrested Feb. 27 in Warrensburg after he had punched several men who tried to subdue him several moments after he had flashed a knife in the Warrensburg VFW hall, police said. Authorities said Butler was a former Warrensburg resident who claimed to be a Marine. Butler had run out of the VFW and was stopped in the Stewarts Shoppe parking lot and arrested on misdemeanor charges of Assault, Menacing and Resisting Arrest, county District Attorney Kate Hogan said. Butler was out on $1,500 bail when he rammed the police car near the Sheriffs Department headquarters, authorities said. York declined to identify the two deputies who were in the rammed patrol car until an internal investigation was completed a routine task after an officers gun is fired. York said the two were visibly shaken up but not injured. They acted very professionally, he said. York said the incident occurred when the two deputies were on a routine patrol when they observed Butlers truck hit a guardrail on Gurney Lane. The officers took a quick U-turn, facing Butlers truck which was travelling eastbound -- coming toward them. The officers then turned on their flashing red lights, and came to a stop, York said. Butlers truck then crossed the center line and struck the patrol car head-on, pushing it backward and partially across the roadway. Butlers truck backed up again and repeatedly rammed the patrol car three or four times, forcing it deeper and deeper into a snowbank, he said. York said several civilians witnessed the incident, and their observations matched the deputies description of the event. He said the two deputies said Butler had no odor of alcohol on his breath, and didnt slur his words when speaking. York said Butler admitted putting it into four-wheel-drive for the ramming action. The patrol car was extensively damaged, with its front end crushed, but the cruisers airbags did not deploy in the incident, York said. Authorities showed reporters the damaged car and truck Monday morning. The windshields of both vehicles bore bullet holes. Hogan said Monday morning that Butler apparently had a prior record, including an arrest on federal charges, but that information needed to be confirmed. A law enforcement source said later that Butler had faced charges for entering the Veterans Hospital in Albany County, wielding a meat cleaver. York said the two deputies had acted according to department policy when shooting their guns. Ive been shot at, and its not a fun thing, he said. The officers were protecting their lives.

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