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Sheriff: Tractor-trailer driver who fled, shot at police 'extremely dangerous,' police shooting thwarted future attack

Berkeley Brean
Created: June 30, 2020 05:50 PM

(WHEC) — As terrifying as the tractor-trailer chase and shootout was in Genesee and Livingston counties in late May, News10NBC learned Tuesday that it probably prevented a bigger attack somewhere in this country. 

A truck driver named Joshua Blessed was shot and killed by deputies on Route 20A, the road into Geneseo in late May.

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The physical and social media evidence shows Blessed was a radical from Virginia who hated police and had enough weapons to hurt a lot of people. 

Blessed died an hour and 15 minutes after he took off from a traffic stop by Le Roy police. He was shot three times in the hip and once in the head. 

“The headshot was obviously the fatal shot,” Livingston County Sheriff Tom Dougherty said. 

Dougherty said a count of the shell casings shows Blessed shot at police 29 times, hitting six police cars. And when he was found dead in the truck, police learned he could have fired a lot more. 

Sheriff Dougherty: “The gun also had six rounds left in it along with another fully loaded 17 round magazine.”

Dougherty says deputies from Livingston and Genesee Counties shot at Blessed 129 times. The first police shots weren’t fired until Blessed’s truck was coming off 390 at the Geneseo exit so as to avoid innocent people, homes and businesses. 

When Blessed was shot and killed here there was an open farm field in the background. 

Sheriff Dougherty: “A lot of members of our office put themselves in harm's way that night and they didn’t always have great cover where they were shooting. But they knew what we were up against and they knew how serious it was.”

In Virginia, the FBI searched Blessed's car, apartment and second home and here’s what they found:

  • 14 pipe bombs.
  • Two AK 47 rifles.
  • A sniper rifle.
  • $148,000.
  • Manuals on how to build bombs and avoid police detection. 

Sheriff Tom Dougherty: “I believe he certainly had a plan for the future. What that plan was I don’t have that information. But I do know that our office and all members of law enforcement behind me, that partnership most likely prevented something much larger in the future.”

Sheriff Dougherty says Blessed was on a planned, legitimate trip to pick up dairy products in Batavia.

When police searched the truck after Blessed was dead they found the trailer empty. 

So what set Blessed off?

Dougherty believes it was Blessed’s disdain for police and the traffic stop for speeding by Le Roy police. 


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