Banding Together For Bangs

By WBNG News

August 16, 2010 Updated Aug 16, 2010 at 12:03 AM EDT

Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Law enforcement agencies come together to support an Ithaca Police Officer whose house was sent up in flames.

A benefit motorcycle ride for Sergeant Bryan Bangs took off from Marvin Park in Owego.

Action News Reporter Haley Burton tells us how officers came from all over to rally behind the badge for Bangs.

Police officers from different departments, different counties even different countries hop on their bikes in support of Ithaca Police Sergeant Bryan Bangs.

"We all stick together. If we don't stick together, who will?" said Ralph Azersky, Owego Police Department.

Bryan Bangs was involved in a deadly drug investigation in Ithaca in February.

He shot and killed 29 year old Shawn Greenwood, as the suspect's car accelerated toward a Dryden police officer.

A grand jury investigation found Bangs was justified in his actions.

Nearly a week later, an arsonist sets fire to Bangs' home in Etna.

we have a hard job to do and we have to make split second decisions and ultimately, we have to provide services for others. That's what it comes down to. We have to serve the Greater good and protect the community. I believe that's what Sergeant Bangs did," said Erik Merlin, Groton Police Department.

"He did nothing wrong and he didn't deserve all of this," said BJ Wheeland, Owego.

A little rain didn't stop one hundred people from coming out to ride.

There was officers from Broome, Tioga and Tompkins Counties.

Even four officers with Toronto Police.

"We heard there was an officer that needed assistance and it was a no brainer. We contacted our chief and got permission to participate," said Staff Sgt. Brian Bowman, Toronto Police.

"It doesn't matter if it happened in Cortland, Tompkins, Tioga, Seneca. We all come together," said Merlin.

New York State Police joined in on the ride as well as many retired officers.

The group isn't the only one banding together for Bangs.

The riders in Owego met up with a second biker group in Dryden.

They was on to a larger benefit in Ithaca.

The all-day event at Lakewatch Inn was expected crowds of 500 plus!

The ride is free, the entry is free. They just want you to come up and buy some raffle tickets. Have something to eat, Maybe have a beer or soda. All that money, every nickel goes to Bryan Bangs and his family," said Azersky.

Riding the miles to support a fellow law enforcement brother.

In Owego, Haley Burton, WBNG-TV Action News.

Bangs was able to escape his home at the time of the fire with minor injuries.

New York State Police is continuing to investigate this act of arson.

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