SPRINGVILLE—Nicholas Krencik, 34, has been identified as the individual who allegedly entered the Springville Country Fair with a sawed-off shotgun around 10:20 p.m. on Aug. 5. Krencik has a previous arrest for criminal possession of a weapon and a parole violation for assault.
Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard, at a press conference, said the motivation is still unclear at this time.
"To speculate on motivation at this time would be inappropriate," Howard said. “I will say our personnel are very much aware of the concept of suicide by cop, where an individual tries to force police to shoot them. We’re looking at it as possible … we’re open minded to any possibilities.”
An ongoing investigation is looking into possible motive, Krencik’s mental health and his prior convictions.
Krencik pulled into the gas station, parking near the pumps. There is no indication he purchased or tried to purchase gas. He then entered the store while carrying the sawed-off shotgun. It's unclear if any verbal threats were made, Howard said.
“We don’t know that there were any verbal threats made,” Howard said. “His conduct in wandering around the store with a sawed-off shotgun would suggest to anyone he was there intending to hurt someone.”
Krencik left the building, where he fired at least one round. When deputies arrived on scene, Krencik fired another round, according to Howard. The subject ignored multiple commands to drop the weapon, and two deputies fired their pistols. At least one shot hit Krencik in the lower chest, Howard said. Krencik was taken to Erie County Medical Center, where he is listed in serious condition.
At the time Krencik entered the store, there were employees and roughly 12 customers. None of the bystanders were injured, nor were the deputies.
“Our deputies used remarkable restraint … I’m very pleased none of our deputies were injured,” Howard said. “It’s unfortunate this individual engaged in conduct that caused him to be injured … but he certainly was the cause of that.”
From the first 911 call, Howard said deputies arrived on the scene within 2 minutes and the incident was over within 4 minutes.
“This turned out without additional people getting injured, I’m pleased with the outcome,” Howard said. “It was kind of a mobile crime scene, both inside and outside the store.”
Krencik has not been charged yet, though Howard said he will likely face a charge of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. The class C felony includes intent to use a firearm in a criminal manner. Menacing and reckless endangerment are also possible charges, as well as environmental charges for discharging a firearm near a building.
Krencik is on parole, his initial conviction was for criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. He was paroled once, which he violated by assaulting someone.
The shotgun was once owned by a female friend who shared a Collins address with Krencik; Howard said the gun had not been altered the last time she had it. Krencik also has a listed residence in the Town of Ashford, with his parents.
Howard asked anyone who may have seen something and has not yet been contacted by the police to call the Erie County Sheriff’s office.