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Tragedy at Batavia Downs: Sergeant Dies After Casino Altercation

A somber mood hangs over the Genesee County community following the death of Sergeant Thomas Sanfratello, a 32-year veteran of the Sheriff’s department. Sergeant Sanfratello passed away on March 10, 2024, after responding to an altercation at the Batavia Downs Casino.

Details surrounding the incident are still emerging, but according to local authorities, Sergeant Sanfratello, who was working a special assignment detail at the casino, responded to a reported disturbance in the bar area. While details remain unclear, it appears he and the casino security were attempting to escort a man and woman, later identified as 33-year-old Michael Elmore and 39-year-old Lyndsey Jean Wilcox, out of the casino.

Reports indicate a struggle ensued, with Ms. Wilcox initially resisting arrest. While officers were able to subdue her, the situation escalated when Mr. Elmore allegedly intervened. Authorities say Sergeant Sanfratello attempted to use a taser on Mr. Elmore, but it was ineffective. Tragically, Sergeant Sanfratello became unresponsive during the altercation. Despite CPR efforts, he was pronounced dead by the Genesee County Coroner.

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A Community Mourns

Sergeant Sanfratello’s death has sent shockwaves through the Genesee County community. Tributes poured in from local officials, law enforcement colleagues, and community members. Sheriff Nathanial Blake called Sergeant Sanfratello “a dedicated public servant who bravely served his community for over three decades.” He added, “This is a devastating loss, and our thoughts and prayers are with Sergeant Sanfratello’s family during this difficult time.”

Residents have expressed their condolences on social media, remembering Sergeant Sanfratello for his professionalism and commitment to public safety. Many have shared stories of positive interactions with the sergeant, highlighting his kindness and dedication.

The Batavia Downs Casino also released a statement expressing their deepest condolences to Sergeant Sanfratello’s family and colleagues. They emphasized their commitment to working with law enforcement during the investigation.

A Heightened Awareness of Casino Safety

This tragic incident raises important questions about safety measures in casinos. While uncommon, altercations can occur in these establishments, and casinos must have robust security protocols in place. These protocols include having enough trained security personnel, clear procedures for dealing with disturbances, and good communication channels with local law enforcement.

Sergeant Sanfratello’s death serves as a stark reminder of the risks faced by law enforcement officers in the line of duty. It’s a call to ensure they have the proper training, equipment, and support to handle potentially dangerous situations.

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A Legacy of Service

As the investigation continues, we offer our heartfelt condolences to Sergeant Thomas Sanfratello’s family and colleagues during this time of grief. His dedication to his community, evident in his 32 years of service, highlights a commitment to public safety that deserves our deepest respect. This tragedy serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of appreciating the service of our law enforcement officers and the risks they face every day.

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