Batavia Downs Casino Attack Leads to Deputy’s Death

Posted on: March 11, 2024, 08:42h. 

Last updated on: March 11, 2024, 11:01h.

Genesee County Sheriff Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello was killed in the line of duty early Sunday at New York State’s Batavia Downs Gaming casino after a violent fight there.

Michael Elmore
Michael Elmore in a mug shot, pictured above. He was charged after a deputy’s death at a New York State casino. (Image: Genesee County Sheriff’s Office)

At about 12:45 a.m., Sanfratello, 54, who was working an extra-duty job at the casino, and security guards were attempting to remove two unruly visitors from the gaming property.

The duo, Michael Elmore, 33, and Lyndsey Jean Wilcox, 39, had gotten into a dispute at the casino’s bar.

Officers responded and tried to get them outside. While being escorted out of the building, Wilcox began to struggle, but was subdued by Sanfratello, police said. Elmore then allegedly assaulted Sanfratello and other officers. Sanfratello attempted to taser Elmore but Elmore continued to be combative.

Sanfratello, other officers, security guards, and even some casino guests tried to bring Elmore under control, according to local news reports.

As the struggle continued, Sanfratello was stricken with unspecified injuries. He collapsed and other officers on the scene administered CPR. But he died at the casino.

Shocked by Incident

“I’m really shocked about the whole situation, especially when there are so many security personnel here that would be assisting this officer,” one witness, Gary Reuter, told New York TV station WHEC. “It just sounds crazy, and I happened to be here last night.”

Elmore was charged with aggravated manslaughter, assault, and burglary. Wilcox was charged with assault and burglary. Both were booked at the Genesee County Jail on Sunday. They are scheduled to appear in the Town of Batavia Court on Tuesday.

An autopsy is likely to be performed on Sanfratello to confirm the cause and manner of his death.

Sanfratello worked for the sheriff’s office for 32 years. He started as a dispatcher, and later was hired as a deputy and was promoted to sergeant.

Casino Shuttered

Batavia Downs, located near Rochester, NY, was temporarily closed following the deadly fight and visitors were ordered to leave. The gaming floor was later reopened under normal hours, New York State TV station WIVB reported.

Genesee County Sheriff Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello
Genesee County Sheriff Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello (Image: Genesee County Sheriff’s Office)

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family members of Sergeant Sanfratello and all the members of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office at this extremely difficult time,” Batavia Police Department Chief Shawn Heubusch said in a statement.

“While words cannot express our sorrow, our thoughts and prayers are with the Sanfratello family and his extended first responder family,” Batavia Downs, President and CEO Henry Wojtaszek added in a statement. “The safety of our guests and our dedicated staff is our highest priority and we will continue to work with our partners in law enforcement throughout their investigation.”