Hero NY Cop Loses Life In Casino Brawl

By Victor Winston, updated on March 11, 2024

Tragedy struck at Batavia Downs casino early Sunday morning, marking a profound loss for the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

The New York Post has reported that Genesee County Sheriff’s Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello died following an altercation with an unruly patron, a somber reminder of the risks law enforcement officers face.

An Unforeseen Tragedy at a Local Casino

In the quiet hours, approximately 35 miles west of Rochester, an incident quickly escalated into a dire situation.

A dedicated 32-year law enforcement veteran, Thomas Sanfratello was working a special assignment at Batavia Downs when he responded to a disturbance. The fight, reported around 12:45 a.m., tragically culminated in his death.

The assailants, identified as Michael Elmore, 33, and Lyndsey Jean Wilcox, 39, directly contributed to the tragic turn of events. Sgt. Sanfratello managed to apprehend Wilcox amidst the chaos. However, it was during Elmore's subsequent attack on him and other officers that Sgt. Sanfratello became unresponsive.

Despite immediate CPR efforts on the scene, Sgt. Sanfratello was pronounced dead, leaving behind a community in mourning. His passing symbolizes not just a personal loss for his family and colleagues but a stark reminder of the dangers inherent in police work.

In Remembrance of a Valued Career

Sgt. Sanfratello began his commendable career as a dispatcher with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office in 1992. His dedication and commitment saw him become a deputy sheriff in 1996 and subsequently promoted to sergeant in 2007. Sanfratello exemplified courage, dedication, and a commitment to protecting his community throughout his service.

Following the tragic event, Batavia Downs was temporarily closed but has since reopened. This incident has left a void in the Genesee County Sheriff's Office and sent ripples of grief throughout the community.

Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch expressed deep sorrow over the incident:

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. This loss underscores the perils that law enforcement officers face daily. We are reminded of their bravery and the sacrifices they make to keep our communities safe.

Call for Witnesses and Ongoing Investigations

Following the tragic incident, the Batavia Police Department, together with the Genesee County District Attorney’s Office and Batavia Downs, is leading the investigation into Sgt. Sanfratello's death. Collecting eyewitness accounts and video evidence of the incident is a crucial aspect of this investigation.

The police are reaching out for public assistance. They urge anyone who saw the fight or has video recordings to contact the Batavia Police Department Detective Bureau at 585-345-6311. This request highlights the vital contribution that community members can make in the pursuit of justice for Sanfratello's family and fellow officers.


In conclusion, the loss of Genesee County Sheriff’s Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello serves as a poignant reminder of the daily risks law enforcement officers face. His long service, marked by dedication and bravery, will not be forgotten.

As investigations continue, the community's support in providing any relevant information can make a significant difference. The collective grief for Sgt. Sanfratello underscores the respect and appreciation for those who serve to protect.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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