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Man arrested after attacking state trooper

By Staff | Mar 14, 2019

HUGHESVILLE A 27-year-old man has been arrested on attempted murder and related offenses after he disarmed a state trooper of his Taser gun and allegedly shot him twice with the electroshock weapon outside McDonald’s on Route 405 about 11 a.m. Thursday, March 7, state police alleged in court papers.

Trooper Johnathan Buynak was attempting to arrest Brandon Confer for breaking into his (Confer’s) mother’s home on Boak Avenue and stealing $600 hours earlier.

When the trooper confronted Confer in McDonald’s parking lot, Confer attempted to run from him, but he was restrained and taken to the ground, Trooper Jamesan Keeler, the lead investigator, said in an affidavit.

The trooper drew his Taser, but did not deploy it, police said.

As Buynak attempted to handcuff the man, Confer managed to get his hands on the Taser, Keeler said.

While the two wrestled for control of the gun, Confer “swung the Taser around, striking the trooper in the face,” Keeler said.

Confer was able to deploy the gun, allowing “two prongs to leave the Taser next to the trooper’s head. One probe hit the the trooper through the right ear and the second probe embedded itself in Trooper Buynak’s right shoulder,” Keeler said.

As he continued to resist the trooper’s efforts to take him in custody, Confer suddenly pulled a folding knife and opened the blade.

Both men got to their feet and the trooper, with his service revolver drawn, ordered Confer to drop the knife, but he refused, Keeler said, adding that Confer “stood brandishing the knife” for a few moments before running across the road to a house he entered through an unlocked door.

Additional state troopers and officers from several communities rushed to the scene to assist Buynak.

One of those officers was Hughesville Police Chief Rod Smith and his 6-year-old K-9, Bear.

Smith went to the back of the house with Bear and ordered Confer to come out, but he refused, Smith said.

The officer then sent his dog into the property. The suspect was hiding in a storage room on an enclosed porch, Smith said.

“I could hear him moving around, knocking things over, trying to hide, but there was no place for him to go,” Smith said.

Bear and Smith dragged Confer out of the room and turned him over to state troopers.

“During the struggle with Trooper Buynak, Confer pulled a concealed knife and brandished it in an attempt to kill him,” Keeler alleged in a criminal complaint.

“Confer disarmed the trooper of his Taser gun and shot him with two probes, resulting in Trooper Buynak suffering great pain” and caused a laceration to his ear that required three stitches to close, Keeler said in the court document.

The trooper was treated at an area hospital for lacerations and other injures and then discharged.

Buynak had initially been dispatched to McDonald’s at 755 Route 405 to investigate a report of a “trespasser” who refused to leave the eatery.

The trooper already had investigated the burglary on nearby Boak Avenue, and the victim in that case told him that her son, Confer, allegedly committed the break-in. The trooper had a photo of the suspect.

As he responded to McDonald’s, Buynak thought perhaps the burglar and the person loitering at the business might very well be the same individual as the restaurant was just south of Boak Avenue. When he arrived on the scene, the trooper recognized Confer as he was walking out of the business.

Confer, who until recently, had lived with his mother, faces a total of 22 charges, including attempted murder of the first degree, aggravated and simple assault, disarming a law enforcement officer, recklessly endangering, escape, theft, burglary and related offenses.

During his arraignment lastThursday night before District Judge Jon E. Kemp, Confer admitted he was addicted to methamphetamines. The judge ordered him held at the Lycoming County Prison without bail.