Police: Suspect beat sergeant with chain, put him into chokehold

Family of fallen sergeant speaks as alleged assailants appear in court

Family of fallen sergeant speaks as alleged assailants appear in court

BATAVIA, N.Y. – After Michael Elmore was kicked out of Batavia Downs Gaming early Sunday morning, Batavia Police say he came back with a metal chain – and used it to beat a Genesee County Sheriff’s deputy on the job.

According to the criminal complaint obtained by News10NBC, Elmore beat Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello on his head and face, then put him into a chokehold when the sergeant was removing him from the casino.

It was an emotional day in court Tuesday for the family of the fallen deputy, who was 54 years old. Those details about the chain necklace and chokehold are in the criminal complaint against Elmore.

Elmore is charged with aggravated assault and aggravated manslaughter. The charges are aggravated because they involve a police officer. Lindsey Wilcox is charged with assault and burglary. The charges say Wilcox hit sergeant Sanfratello when he was arresting her and says Elmore hit the sergeant with a jewelry chain and out him in a chokehold. The sergeant lost consciousness and never recovered.

Both already have pleaded not guilty. Tuesday was a chance to meet their lawyers for the first time in Batavia Town Court. Elmore covered his face when he arrived at court at 1 p.m. When he came out of court, he acknowledged his family who were waiting for him, and then he broke down crying in the back of the sheriff’s SUV inside the court building conference room

“Mr. Elmore knows that he’s facing very serious charges, and I’m just going to help him deal with it the best way possible,” said Joseph Lobosco, his lawyer.

A number of the sergeant’s family members were on hand at the court.

“We lost him in a tragic way, a senseless way,” said Michelle Panasiewicz, his sister. “… Very special. He was the rock; we all depended on him. Anybody had a problem, we call Tom. Tom fixed it for us. At this point, I don’t know who’s going to fix it for us.”

“He was a great dad — always making us laugh, and , just really was a great dad. He just brought everyone’s laughter out because he was so funny and … sarcastic all the time,” said Kyla Sanfratello, his daughter.

Elmore is scheduled to be back in court in April.

Calling hours for Sgt. Sanfratello will be on Friday, March 15 from 2 to 8 p.m. at the Call Arena at Genesee Community College in Batavia, according to his obituary. The funeral will be at the same location at 11 a.m. at the same location at GCC. He will be buried at St. Joseph’s Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, people can donate to the the Deputy Sheriffs Association, PO Box 492 Batavia, NY 14021 (Memo Shop with A Cop or Fallen Officer Memorial).

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Employee Association shared the link to a fund to support Sgt. Sanfratello’s three children. The GoFundMe page says Sgt. Sanfratello was a devoted public servant, farther, brother, son, and friend to so many.

Calling hours for Sgt. Sanfratello are Friday. His funeral is Saturday morning, and both will be at Genesee Community College in Batavia.

The City of Batavia Police Department is seeking assistance from the public in gathering digital evidence, video or photo, from the incident. You can send it here.

More of our coverage:

Michael Elmore (Provided photo)
Lindsey Wilcox (Provided photo)