Individual accused of shooting at officers pleads not guilty

Steven Burda, 58, appeared in Cortland County Court on Friday. He is being accused of firing a shotgun at police officers in January. (Photo provided by Kevin L. Smith of The Cortland Voice).

An individual accused of shooting at officers pleaded not guilty in Cortland County Court on Friday.

Steven Burda, 58, allegedly fired a shotgun at multiple officers from the Cortland County Sheriff and City of Cortland Police departments on Jan. 29. This occurred when the county sheriff’s civil division attempted to serve eviction papers to Burda at his residence on Homer Avenue in Cortland.

According to a New York State police report, Burda met sheriff’s deputies at the entrance. The report noted that Burda was allegedly in possession of a shotgun.

The state police and city police officers then assisted county sheriff’s deputies at the scene. The report noted that officers “attempted to deescalate the situation,” which led to city police lieutenant Cheyenne Cute attempting “to disarm Burda” with beanbag impact rounds.

The beanbag rounds from Cute were “ineffective,” the report stated, and Burda allegedly fired his shotgun at the officers. The report added that none of the officers were struck by the shot.

According to the report, county sheriff’s investigator sergeant Anthony Phelps fired his gun back, which struck Burda in the lower body. 

Medical care was provided to Burda. He was transported to Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse. Burda, in stable condition, recovered while being under guard. He was arrested on a warrant after being released from the hospital.

Burda is facing a 17-count indictment, including four counts apiece of first-degree attempted murder, second-degree attempted murder, attempted aggravated assault upon a police officer and prohibited use of weapons. He is also accused of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

If convicted, county judge Julie Campbell said Burda could be sentenced to life in prison.

Deadline of motion from the defense is April 22, and the district attorney’s office has until May 6 to respond. A compliance conference for Burda’s case is at 9:45 a.m. April 18.

Defense attorney and public defender Kevin Jones requested a decrease in Burda’s bail from a $500K cash bail/$2 million bond to a $25,000 cash bail/$50,000 bond.

District attorney Patrick Perfetti urged the court to deny Jones’ request, citing the risk of flight. Campbell concluded by decreasing the bail to $250,000 cash/$500,000 bond.