STAFFORD — Route 33 was shut down and residents ordered to stay inside after a man ran from a traffic stop and then what were believed to be gunshots were heard, Genesee County sheriff’s investigators said.
The shots weren’t from a gun, however, but from a propane-fueled “cannon” used to scare wildlife from farm crops.
The driver, Arthur J. Brown Jr., 44, of Le Roy was taken into custody more than five hours after the initial traffic stop.
The traffic stop happened shortly after 6 p.m. when a deputy stopped a car traveling west near Mill Road. The driver had reportedly been weaving and speeding.
The driver stopped but immediately got out of the car and ran into a cornfield.
A deputy said he saw the man pull a gun from his waistband before he lost sight of him in the corn.
Moments later, the farm cannon went off.
The deputy assumed they were gunshots.
More deputies arrived at the scene, along with Batavia police, state police, a DEC K9 unit, Genesee County Emergency Response Team and Monroe County Special Weapons and Tactics Team.
Police used a helicopter, drones and police on foot to search the area.
Brown was found about a mile away near Wesbrook Road. He was taken into custody without incident.
Route 33 was closed and nearby residents were ordered to lock their doors and stay inside during the search.
A handgun was found where Brown was seen running away.
Brown was charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a class C felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, menacing a police officer, tampering with physical evidence, obstruction of governmental administration, driving while impaired by drugs, unlicensed operation and failure to keep right.
He was committed to Genesee County Jail without bail.
A passenger, Breanna A. Smith, 29, of Rochester was charged with misdemeanor possession of drugs and was released. Deputies said she had a violation of probation warrant from Florida but that officials in Florida said they would not have her extradited.
Brown has an extensive criminal history that includes convictions that landed him in state prison four times.
He also is a Level 3 offender on the NYS Sex Offender Registry.
Brown was convicted of third-degree rape in Onondaga County in 2006 and was sentenced to 18 months to three years in prison.
He also served a seven-year term for robbery convictions in Onondaga in 1998, and a two-year term for dealing drugs in Chautauqua County in 2010.
His latest prison stint came in 2015 when he was convicted in Monroe County of two counts of violating terms of the sex offender registry.
He was released in 2020 and was on parole until March 21, according to state Department of Corrections.