Genesee County deputy who died in line of duty remembered as a loving father and son

Deputy Dies

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BATAVIA, N.Y. — The family of Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello, the Genesee County sheriff’s deputy who was killed in the line of duty, said he was a loving father, brother, and son.

Sgt. Sanfratello died early Sunday morning while responding to a fight at Batavia Downs. His son shared a photo and a statement:

We would just like our privacy at this difficult time and he will be remembered as a loving father, son, brother and sheriff and will be greatly missed by all that knew him.

Sgt. Sanfratello, who served 32 years with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, died after an unruly patron attacked him. The 54-year-old was working on a special assignment detail at the Batavia Downs.

Batavia Police and deputies first responded to Batavia Downs around 12:45 a.m. after reports of a fight. Batavia Downs security staff and Sgt. Sanfratello were escorting two people from the building — 33-year-old Michael J. Elmore and 39-Year-old Lyndsey Jean Wilcox.

Officials say Sgt. Sanfratello, was able to gain control and arrest of Wilcox after she fought back. Police say that’s when Elmore attacked Sgt. Sanfratello. Batavia Police, other deputies, and civilians jumped in to help, and a fight broke out.

During the fight, police say Sgt. Sanfratello became unresponsive and CPR was started immediately. Sgt. Sanfratello died despite life-saving efforts.

Gary Reuter says he is a loyal Batavia Downs patron who comes several times a week. He said that while he has seen a fight here before, they are the exception not the rule. Security staff have always quickly taken care of the situation.

“I’m really shocked about the whole situation especially when there are so many security personnel here that would be assisting this officer. It just sounds crazy, and I happen to be here last night.”

“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,” said Batavia Police Department Chief Shawn Heubusch.

President and CEO of Batavia Downs, Henry Wojtaszek released the following statement:

The Batavia Downs Family is extremely saddened by the loss of Sergeant SanFratello and send our very deepest condolences to his family. We rarely have incidents at our facility in large part due to the incredible efforts of people like Sergeant SanFratello. While words cannot express our sorrow, our thoughts and prayers are with the SanFratello family and his extended first responder family. 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. We are committed to assisting the SanFratello family and the entire community through this difficult time.

Gates Fire Department members stood at several overpasses on Sunday morning during the dignified transfer of Sgt. Sanfratello’s body:

The Batavia Police Department is coordinating the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, Genesee County District Attorney’s Office and Batavia Downs for this ongoing investigation.

Police ask anyone who may have witnessed the fight or who may have video, to please contact the City of Batavia Police Department Detective Bureau at 585-345-6311.

A photographer on scene captured the following photos: