When shooter opens fire, witness doesn’t have a gun to fight back — so he uses his car instead

When shooter opens fire, witness doesn’t have a gun to fight back — so he uses his car instead
Two regular guys took heroic action to stop a man shooting an AR-15 rifle at a Dollar General store near Buffalo, New York, on Tuesday afternoon. (Image source: WGRZ-TV video screenshot)

Two regular guys took heroic action to stop a man shooting an AR-15 rifle at a Dollar General store near Buffalo, New York, on Tuesday afternoon — with one of them hopping in his car and running over the suspect to prevent him from firing another round.

What went down?

  • Mark Pinnavaia owns Darylls Car Audio across the street from the Dollar General in Cheektowaga and told WGRZ-TV his employee Chris Kaufmann yelled “shots fired.”
  • Pinnavaia told the station they saw a man “shooting at the front” of the Dollar General.
  • He told WGRZ Kaufmann picked up the phone to call 911.
  • Pinnavaia grabbed his cellphone and keys, and hopped into his Ford Focus in the parking lot so he could gain a good vantage point and be “the best witness that I could possibly be,” the Buffalo News reported.
Mark Pinnavea (left) with Chris Kauffman. Image source: WGRZ-TV video screenshot)
Mark Pinnavaia (left) with Chris Kaufmann. Image source: WGRZ-TV video screenshot)

What did Pinnavaia do when the shooter momentarily put down the rifle?

  • Pinnavaia — who’s a reserve deputy for the Erie County Sheriff’s Office but didn’t have a gun on him when the bullets started flying, the Buffalo News said — saw a chance to stop the shooter.
  • “I proceeded to drive as fast as I possibly could to hit the individual,” he told the paper. “I had full intentions to hit him if that’s what it would take to stop him.”
  • Pinnavaia gunned his car across a side lawn and aimed it right at the shooter, who was running toward a Dollar General back door, WGRZ said.
  • “I caught him as he was jumping up over the roof of my car … there’s actually a foot print on my vehicle where he hit,” Pinnavaia told the station. “At that point he ran, and I jumped out of my vehicle and began a foot pursuit.”
  • Kaufmann joined the chase, and they both ran after the man until police caught up with him, WGRZ said.
  • “I was about five feet behind him when he jumped over a guard rail, and I saw officers with weapons drawn intercept him,” Pinnavaia told the station. “I broke off my pursuit and put my own hands up in the air.”
Image source: WGRZ-TV video screenshot
Image source: WGRZ-TV video screenshot

What did police have to say about the pair?

  • Cheektowaga Police Chief David Zack told WGRZ that Pinnavaia and Kaufmann  are “heroes” who likely prevented deaths: “It’s a miracle I am not reading off the names of deceased.”
  • “There was just incredible bravery on this part of these individuals,” Zack added to the station. “They were not going to be victims. They fought back, and they took this guy out, and they put a stop to it. No words could describe their courage.”

What else did Pinnavaia and Kaufmann say?

  • “This is not about being a hero,” Kaufmann told WGRZ. “This was about doing what you think you need to do and just doing it.”
  • “Some people have it in them to fight first, and I instinctively had that feeling to do whatever I could do,” Pinnavaia told the Buffalo News, adding that there was no fear, only “adrenaline.”

What’s up with the suspect?

  • Police identified the shooter as Travis J. Green, 29, the Buffalo News said.
  • He walked into the Dollar General around 2:30 p.m. and asked for an application, WKBW-TV reported, citing the Erie County District Attorney’s Office.
  • The suspect got angry and left the store, investigators told WKBW, and then fired 20 rounds with an AR-15 rifle at the store from the parking lot. He was wearing body armor and camouflage, the station added.
  • Green — who was in possession of two rifles and 800 rounds of ammunition, police told WGRZ — was arraigned on felonies including attempted murder, assault and criminal use of a firearm and was held without bail.
Image source: WGRZ-TV video screenshot
Image source: WGRZ-TV video screenshot
  • A 53-year-old Cheektowaga man was shot in the shoulder but was released from a hospital and is home with his family and recovering, WKBW-TV reported.

Here’s a news report with more information on the suspect: