Suspect dead, Trooper injured after foot chase in Elmira

State News

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) — State Police have confirmed that David Wandell, 53, of Elmira, was shot and killed in Woodlawn Cemetery during a shootout and foot pursuit involving several police departments.

At 11:32 a.m., Elmira Police responded to a report of a wanted person in Eldridge Park from a New York BCI Investigator.

An Elmira officer entered the park and tried to arrest Wandell. Police say when she was about 20 yards away, Wandell pointed a black revolver at her. The officer then fired several shots at Wandell, but it is unclear how many shots or if Wandell was hit. During this encounter, no officers suffered any injuries.

Wandell then ran out of the park, and “several officers from every agency in Chemung County responded,” according to Elmira Police Chief Anthony Alvernaz.

Around 11:45, Elmira Heights Police reported that Wandell was now on Davis Street, so most officers headed to Woodlawn Cemetery to locate him.

Mick Szoczei, BCI Captain for NYSP Troop E in Canandaigua, said several officers tried to verbally make Wandell stop at the cemetery.

He brandished a weapon, then officers fatally shot him. He was “located deceased in Woodlawn Cemetery.” Police didn’t specify which agency shot Wandell.

Wandell, a New York State parole absconder, recently came back to Elmira from North Carolina.

The State Trooper that impaled her leg on a metal fence is out of surgery, according to Alvernaz. Szoczei said no officers were shot.

Szoczei said State Police will now become the lead investigators. He also said there will eventually be bodycam footage released from various agencies. However, Troop E doesn’t have body cameras yet.

The roads around Woodlawn Cemetery will be closed for some time while police continue to process the scene. NYS Police have processed the scene at Eldridge Park as well at the request of Elmira Police.

He asked that anyone who may have seen anything call the Elmira Police Department at 607-735-8600 or the State Police in Horseheads at 607-739-8797.

Seven different departments responded, including Elmira Heights Police, Elmira Police, West Elmira Police, Chemung County Sheriff’s Office, Horseheads Police, NYS Parole, and NYS Police.

The investigation is ongoing. 18 News will continue to follow the story and provide details as they become available.

The full police press conference can be viewed in the player below.


Below are 18 News’ original reports and updates on the incident.

UPDATE: According to a reporter at the press conference, State Police and the NY Attorney General’s office are investigating the incident.

State police said a Trooper’s leg was impaled when trying to climb a metal fence at Woodlawn Cemetery during the foot pursuit Friday morning. The injury is not considered life-threatening.

Police have confirmed someone was killed in connection to Friday morning’s shootings and police chase through Elmira that ended in Woodlawn Cemetery.

Police are expected to hold a press conference at 4:30 p.m.

Multiple departments responded to the chase, including Elmira Police, the Chemung County Sheriff’s Office, NYS Police, and Horseheads Police.

A State Police helicopter was also circling the scene.

CORRECTION: There have been two officer-involved shootings, one at Eldridge Park and one at Woodlawn Cemetery near Davis Street involving the same suspect, according to Elmira Police Chief Anthony Alvernaz.

One NYS Trooper was injured and has been transported. No other officers were injured, and at least one suspect is in custody.

There are unconfirmed reports that a person was shot multiple times, according to witnesses on the scene.

There were reportedly seven or eight shots fired a little before 12:00 p.m. on Friday, according to the same reporter.

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