N.Y.: Gun pointed point-blank at DEA agents fails to fire

By Dan Herbeck
The Buffalo News

A gun that failed to fire may have saved the lives of two federal drug agents during a recent incident in a Buffalo hotel, a federal prosecutor said Saturday.

U.S. Attorney Terrance P. Flynn said a gunman pointed his weapon at two agents and tried to fire at them from point-blank range. "If it had fired, we could have had two agents dead or seriously injured in the line of duty," Flynn said.

Authorities said the accused gunman, Camara Griffin, 27, of Atlanta, faces a Wednesday appearance in federal court. He is charged with illegal use of a firearm, assault and attempted murder of two U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents. The Jan. 11 confrontation began when agents were assigned to investigate a routine tip about suspicious conduct by Griffin and two other men in a hotel.

DEA agents said they were told that someone was smoking marijuana in a hotel room and that they possessed large amounts of money.

Several DEA agents, including Christopher Wisniewski and Christopher Ulmer, went to the hotel, Flynn said.

The DEA said agents quickly learned that a woman who had just left a room in the hotel possessed 100 Ecstasy tablets.

"Agents knocked at the door of the room twice. A male opened the door. The agents identified themselves, and the man tried to slam the door shut," Flynn said. "One of the men in the room pulled out a black semiautomatic pistol, and an agent yelled "Gun!' "

Flynn said the gun's trigger was pulled twice while pointed at Wisniewski and Ulmer, but the weapon did not fire.

Arrested with Griffin were two other men, Colin Greenaway, 33, of Atlanta and Andre Bennett, 25, of New York City. They are charged with conspiracy and possession of Ecstasy. Greenaway also is charged with unlawfully disposing of marijuana by flushing it down a toilet as agents entered the room. Bennett also is charged with making a false statement to police.

The men will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott. According to court papers, Griffin admitted that he aimed the gun at agents but said he thought the agents were men who had come to rob him.

Copyright 2007 Buffalo News

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