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An unarmed guard prevented a gunman from entering a Buffalo treatment clinic

Jeremy Griffin enters the lobby of he Alba de Vida substance abuse treatment clinic holding an AR-15.
Courtesy of Buffalo Police
Jeremy Griffin enters the lobby of he Alba de Vida substance abuse treatment clinic holding an AR-15.

On Thursday morning, a man walked into the lobby of the Alba de Vida substance abuse treatment clinic in Buffalo, N.Y., holding an AR-15. He fired one round into the wall before an unnamed security guard forced the man against a wall, took him outside and then pinned him to the ground with the help of another security guard.

The incident was caught on surveillance footagerecently released by Buffalo police. The footage shows the man, 48-year-old Jeremy Griffin of Williamsville, N.Y., entering the clinic and brandishing the weapon before being confronted by a security guard.

Griffin then appeared to fire a shot. The security guard then ran toward him, pinning him against the wall. The two struggled before the guard was able to drag Griffin outside, while another security guard followed him.

Security footage from outside the clinic shows the two guards wrestling Griffin to the ground while two bystanders helped take the AR-15 from him.

Officers say at least two more rounds were fired during the struggle, but no one was injured.

The clinic is run by Promesa Inc., and affiliated with the human services nonprofit Acacia Network. It provides, among other things, medication-assisted treatment for people dealing with substance abuse.

"The Acacia Network commends the tremendous bravery of our employees, who immediately sprang into action and averted a possible tragedy. We are proud of the safety and security measures we have in place, including our dedicated security personnel," Gabriela González, assistant vice president of communications and development told NPR.

Griffin has been charged with a number of felonies, including attempted murder. Officers say he stopped at a home on Pennsylvania Street and shot a woman in the leg before going to the clinic. The woman was taken to Erie County Medical Center for non-life-threatening injuries.

"[Both shootings] were an attempted robbery seeking what we believe to be drugs," Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said in a press conference. "There was, at this point, no other motive other than an attempted robbery."

Buffalo Police are working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to determine where the AR-15 came from. Officers say the magazine was loaded with more than ten rounds of ammunition which is illegal in New York. The New York SAFE Act prohibits possession of a magazine that has the capacity to hold more than ten (10) rounds of ammunition regardless of when it was manufactured or when it was obtained. Investigators don't believe the attack was planned.

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Matt Adams
Matt Adams is an Audience Engagement Strategist at NPR, where he is always thinking of how a broadcast company can do more on the internet. His focus is on social media strategy and how to connect NPR with new audiences in creative ways, from community building to social audio.