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Cortland deputy cleared in shooting of armed suspect

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

A Cortland County grand jury has cleared a sheriff’s deputy of any wrongdoing in the shooting and injury of 58-year-old Steven Burda during an eviction attempt in late January. The incident, which escalated to an exchange of gunfire, resulted in Burda being shot in the leg after he fired at officers and refused to drop his shotgun. Burda has since been charged with attempted murder.

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The confrontation occurred as deputies attempted to serve eviction paperwork to Burda at his Homer Avenue apartment. The situation intensified, leading to an armed standoff with law enforcement, including New York State Police and City of Cortland police officers. Non-lethal attempts to disarm Burda were unsuccessful, culminating in the deputy’s use of lethal force in self-defense.

Local prosecutors confirmed the grand jury’s decision to indict Burda while clearing Investigator Sergeant Anthony Phelps of the Cortland County Sheriff’s Office. The DA emphasized that the actions of law enforcement were justified, highlighting the procedural and judicial review of such incidents to ensure accountability and transparency.