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T.J. Pignataro
Erie County sheriff's deputies and the bomb squad responded to a call on Grand Island late Wednesday that culminated in the shooting death of an armed suspect who was carrying pipe bombs.
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T.J. Pignataro
Members of the Erie County bomb squad had to deal with two pipe bombs found on and near the dead suspect. More explosives were found later in his Niagara Falls home.
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Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News
On Wednesday evening, an Erie County sheriff's deputy shot and killed an armed man from Niagara Falls outside this Crescent Road house on Grand Island. The man had shot his former girlfriend three times during what police described as a "moving shootout."
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Suspect killed in 'moving shootout' on Grand Island

By Gene Warner and T.J. Pignataro
Updated: 07/26/07 11:03 AM

 An Erie County sheriff's deputy shot and killed an armed man from Niagara Falls who had shot his former girlfriend three times during what police described as a "moving shootout" on Grand Island late Wednesday night.

After Thomas Dodge, 30, of Buffalo Avenue, Niagara Falls, had been shot, sheriff's deputies found two pipe bombs, one on the ground and one in his backpack. Authorities evacuated the nearby area on Crescent Road, before the sheriff's Bomb Squad removed the two devices.

Tami Trottnow, 26, was struck in the elbow, shoulder and buttocks during the shootout. She was taken to Erie County Medical Center, where sheriff's officials said they believed she was in good condition.

"It appears obvious at this point that the suspect was trying to kill the woman that he was chasing," Sheriff's Chief Dennis Rankin said.

The incident began between 10 and 10:15 p.m., when a 911 caller reported an attempted suicide on Crescent Road.

When Deputy Thomas Meredith, 37, arrived, he was directed by a resident to an ongoing fight between a man and a woman at a Crescent Road home.

Meredith approached the house, looked inside and saw the man and woman struggling, Rankin said. The woman then ran from the house, being chased by the man who had a gun.

As Meredith repeatedly ordered Dodge to drop his gun, Dodge continued to fire at the woman, with both the deputy and Dodge each firing several rounds, Rankin said.

"It's a moving shootout," Rankin said. "Everyone is shooting as they're running."

Finally, Trottnow ran onto the porch of a nearby home, where she saw a porch light that was on.

"She is on the front stoop of the house, trying to get in, when the suspect shoots again," Rankin said. "The officer had a clear shot, and he ordered [the suspect] again to drop the gun.

"At that point, the suspect turned toward our deputy, and our deputy fired the fatal shot."

Dodge was struck once in the upper torso, in the chest area, sheriff's officials said.

"Our officer did exactly what we would have expected him to do and what he was trained to do, based on what we know," Rankin said at mid-morning.

Sheriff's officials believe Dodge and Trottnow had dated in the past and had broken up a few days ago.

Following the shooting, Niagara Falls police and Erie County sheriff's deputies went to Dodge's Buffalo Avenue home in Niagara Falls, where they confiscated 10 pipe bombs and other weapons, including an assault rifle.