Arrests made in death of officer attacked with jewelry chain

Sergeant Thomas Sanfratello was on the force for 32 years.

March 14, 2024, 6:13 PM

Two arrests were made following the death of a sergeant who was attacked and killed after breaking up a dispute early Sunday morning at New York’s Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel, according to the Batavia Police Department.

Genesee County Sheriff's Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello was working a special assignment detail at Batavia Downs when police responded to reports of a disturbance at the bar.

Sanfratello escorted Michael J. Elmore and Lyndsey Jean Wilcox out of the casino following the disturbance when Wilcox became combative, striking the 54-year-old sergeant, Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch said during a media briefing Wednesday.

PHOTO: Sergeant Thomas Sanfratello
Sergeant Thomas Sanfratello
Genesee County Sheriff's Office

While taking Wilcox into custody, Elmore returned to the scene, and an altercation ensued, according to Heubusch.

Elmore removed a large piece of jewelry from around his neck – a "metal, thick rope" that he used as part of the attack, according to police.

Elmore also allegedly put Sanfratello in a chokehold and beat him with his fists, according to Heubusch.

PHOTO: An ambulance is seen outside Batavia Downs Gaming, March 10, 2024, in Batavia, N.Y.
An ambulance is seen outside Batavia Downs Gaming, March 10, 2024, in Batavia, N.Y.

Sgt. Sanfratello became unresponsive during the altercation. Although "several members of Batavia Downs security staff and bystanders" began performing CPR, he was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

No other officers or staff members were hurt during the altercation, according to police.

According to police, Elmore, 33, was charged with three felonies: aggravated manslaughter in the first degree, aggravated felony assault upon a police officer and felony burglary in the second degree.

PHOTO: Lyndsey Jean Wilcox (L) and Michael J. Elmore (R)
Lyndsey Jean Wilcox (L) and Michael J. Elmore (R)
Batavia Police Department

Wilcox, 39, was charged with two felonies: felony burglary in the second degree and attempted felony assault in the second degree, according to police.

Sgt. Sanfratello was a 32-year veteran of the sheriff's office, joining as a dispatcher in 1992 before becoming a deputy sheriff in 1996 and a sergeant in 2007, according to a release.

According to his obituary, Sgt. Sanfratello was twice awarded Deputy of the Year.

Police ask anyone who witnessed the fight or has video of it to contact the Batavia Police Department Detective Bureau.

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