Former Erie County prison deputy charged with trespass, harassment in Highmark Stadium incident

ORCHARD PARK, NY (WIVB) – A former prison officer at the Erie County Sheriff’s Office is in trouble again, this time for allegedly threatening law enforcement officers while he was ejected from the Garth Brooks concert at Highmark Stadium.

It all started around 9:11 PM on July 23, when John A. Gugino, 46, of Hamburg, refused to leave the concert after being ejected for profanity in violation of fan behavior, according to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office.

Gugino reportedly disobeyed orders and struggled with deputies, scratching a deputy’s right forearm while escorting out of the stadium. Gugino is also charged with making threatening remarks against a member of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office.

He was arraigned Tuesday night in Orchard Park Town Court on charges of third-degree criminal trespass and two counts of second-degree harassment. Gugino was released on an appearance ticket.

The DA’s office has opened a conduct investigation into the sheriff’s office employees handling the situation and has found no evidence of wrongdoing, an ECDA spokesperson said.

He is due to appear in court again on October 6, 2022 at 5:30 p.m. and was released on his own admission.

Judge Dean Puleo has issued a temporary restraining order on behalf of the two victims.

The Erie County DA’s Office sent a letter to the Hamburg Town Court requesting that Gugino be re-convicted of a felony drug conviction. A DA spokesperson said Gugino could face up to a year in prison if the judge finds him guilty.

This isn’t Gugino’s first run-in with the Erie County Police Department. He was convicted of drug possession after a deputy detained him on Milestrip Road on the evening of October 17, 2020, and executed a search warrant.

A search of his vehicle turned up a small amount of cocaine and Gugino, who was a prison deputy at the time, was charged with possession of cocaine. The charges were later dropped after lab tests showed the weight of the cocaine deserved a felony, according to the DA’s office.

On May 10, 2022, the morning his non-jury trial was due to begin, Gugino pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal possession of a seventh-degree controlled substance. Exactly one month later, Gugino was fired from his Erie County Sheriff’s Office job.

On July 21, 2022, Gugino appeared before the Hamburg city court and was sentenced to one year’s probation. He was sentenced to 50 hours of community service and a $205 fine.

Gugino is due to appear in court again on August 18, 2022 at 9:30 a.m.

Patrick Ryan is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. View more of his work here.

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